Last updated: 5/11/2020
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Street Address
6 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Mailing Address
6 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
phone: 627-495-4631
e-mail: hmane@harvard.edu
web: hmane.harvard.edu
Hours
Sunday - Friday11 AM - 4 PM
Saturdayclosed
Admissions
Free
Staff
Description

By housing ancient Near Eastern exhibitions, the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East explores a rich history of cultures. Exhibitions include a full-scale replica of an Iron Age home, life-sized casts of famous Mesopotamian monuments, authentic mummy coffins, and tablets containing the earliest forms of writing. Like the artifacts it displays, the museum itself has a rich and nuanced history.

History

Founded as the Harvard Semitic Museum in 1889, the museum moved into its present location in 1903. From the beginning, it was the home of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, a departmental library, a repository for research collections, a public educational institute, and a center for archaeological exploration. Among the museum's early achievements were the first scientific excavations in the Holy Land (at Samaria in 1907-1912) and excavations at Nuzi and Tell el-Khaleifeh in the Sinai, where the earliest alphabet was found. During World War II, the museum housed Naval offices and was closed to the public. In the 1970's, academic activities resumed in the museum, which is again home to the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and to the University's collections of Near Eastern archaeological artifacts. These artifacts comprise over 40,000 items, including pottery, cylinder seals, sculpture, coins and cuneiform tablets. Many are from museum-sponsored excavations in Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Cyprus, and Tunisia.

In 2020, the name changed to the Harvard Museum of the Ancient Near East to better reflect the diversity of the collections and exhibitions. The museum remains dedicated to the use of these collections for the teaching, research, and publication of Near Eastern archaeology, history, and culture.

The museum, through the collaborative efforts of departmental faculty, curators, museum curatorial staff and students, mounts exhibits, often in conjunction with university courses, which not only serve the University community, but also attract the general public. The museum has an active public outreach program featuring tours for school groups and teacher training workshops. The museum also sponsors, either alone or in conjunction with other institutions, a number of public lectures each year. Through these educational efforts, the museum seeks to promote a wider understanding of the civilizations of the Near East and their great cultural legacies.

Educational Programs

See the website for public events open to all. See the website for the virtual field trip available to middle school classes.

ADA

See the website for the availability of 60-minute Touch Tours for blind and visually impaired visitors.

Wheelchair Accessible

Restrooms

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MUSEUM CONFERENCES
Saturday, March 11 - Tuesday, March 14, 2023 — Harrisonburg, Virginia
Virginia Association of Museum's 2023 Annual Conference!
Harrisonburg, Virginia
Tuesday, March 14 - Friday, March 17, 2023 — Memphis, Tennessee
2023 Tennessee Association of Museums Conference: Unfinished Revolutions
Memphis, Tennessee
Sunday, April 23 - Wednesday, April 26, 2023 — San Antonio, Texas
Texas Association of Museums 2023 San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
Wednesday, April 26 - Friday, April 28, 2023 — New Orleans, Louisiana
Association of Children’s Museums’ 2023 InterActivity Conference
New Orleans, Louisiana
Friday, June 23 - Thursday, June 29, 2023 — ,
2023 American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago
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Monday, August 21 - Friday, August 25, 2023 — Saco, Maine
ASSOCIATION OF NATURE CENTER ADMINISTRATORS 2023 ANNUAL SUMMIT
Saco, Maine
Wednesday, September 6 - Saturday, September 9, 2023 — Boise, Idaho
2023 Am Assoc for State and Local History Annual Conference
Boise, Idaho