Wilson College: Ancient Mediterranean Exhibition on Display

Wilson holds the line

Wilson College is one of a few private, nonprofit institutions in the area with a curated collection of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and African antiquities. “Voices from the Wine Dark Sea,” showcases the ancient world ringing the Mediterranean Sea and an diversity of perspectives. For those who are interested, the artifacts from the Wilson College Antiquities Collection are accompanied by primary source texts. These tell the stories of individuals and groups from centuries ago.

The Mediterranean exhibition

This exhibition focuses on lifting up the voices of marginalized individuals in the ancient world, including women, the previously enslaved, and those who did not conform to society’s expectations,” said curator Bonnie Rock-McCutcheon, ancient world studies faculty at Wilson College. Rock-McCutcheon noted that the ancient world is often assumed to be, or presented as, “white” and predominantly male-oriented in curricula. This exhibition will go some way to redress this bias.

“As an institution rooted in the liberal arts and sciences, Wilson College believes that diverse perspectives and experiences deepen learning and enhance understanding. Thus, the College is motivated to represent material culture accurately and teach its related curriculum,” said college president Wesley R. Fugate. “Studying the diversity within the Ancient World is a unique opportunity for our region’s students and lifelong learners to see the past as it truly was.”

The exhibition can be seen in person, online, or can be taken to schools in the region. “We are also excited to offer programming and customized workshops for student groups of all ages, whether you want to come to us, or you want us to come to you,” Rock-McCutcheon said. “Those who are farther away can experience the exhibit and objects through augmented and virtual reality applications, which will be accompanied by lesson planning materials on our website.”

The ability to take the collection “on the road” allows Wilson to better meet the needs of high schools interested in examining the diversity of past cultures. The exhibition is part of the “Building Equity: Making the Barron C. Blewett Hunnicutt Gallery and Antiquities Collection Accessible to All” project at the Hankey Center and Archives. The collection contains over 500 items from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Italy, Greece, Palestine, and Syria, spanning a wide array of media, including ceramics, glassware, coins, metal objects of various types, terra-cotta figurines, and sculpture. Some of these items are included in the current exhibition.

Made available by funding from several organizations

The exhibition, programming, workshops, and digital curation are made possible by funding from the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, the Society for Classical Studies “Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities” program, and the “Arts for All” grant opportunity of the Greater Harrisburg, Community Foundation, a regional foundation of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities.

“I am thrilled to receive the ‘Arts for All’ grant for our work enhancing the antiquities collection and Hunnicutt Gallery,” Rock- McCutcheon said. “In Fall ’21, we opened ‘Voices of the Wine Dark Sea;’ in spring ’22, support from this grant will help us make the collection a regional resource for local schools and colleges. This grant will enable us to host student groups on campus, make in-school workshops available to them, and create digital resources that will be freely available online.”

For information about visiting, email Rock-McCutchen at brock@wilson.edu.

The website for the exhibition is https://www.wilson.edu/voices-wine-dark-sea