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 5 - Tuesday, March 8, 2022 — Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Association of Museums Annual Conference 2022
Richmond, Virginia
Sunday, March 6 - Thursday, March 10, 2022 — St. Louis, Missouri
2022 Public Land Alliance Convention and Trade Show
St. Louis, Missouri
Wednesday, March 16 - Friday, March 18, 2022 — Kingsport, Tennessee
Tennessee Association of Museums 2022 Annual Conference
Kingsport, Tennessee
Tuesday, March 22 - Friday, March 25, 2022 — Waco, Texas
Texas Association of Museums 2022 - Growing Together: Tackling The Challenges Of Today & Tomorrow
Waco, Texas
Thursday, April 7 - Saturday, April 9, 2022 — Point Pleasant, West Virginia
West Virginia Association of Museums 2022 Conference
Point Pleasant, West Virginia
Sunday, April 24 - Tuesday, April 26, 2022 — Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
PA Museums’ 2022 Conference
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Sunday, May 15 - Saturday, May 28, 2022 — Statesboro, Georgia
Center of Excellence Tick Workshop 2022
Statesboro, Georgia
Monday, May 16 - Wednesday, May 18, 2022 — St. Louis, Missouri
InterActivity 2022: Play The Long Game -Association of Children's Museums
St. Louis, Missouri
Thursday, May 19 - Sunday, May 22, 2022 — Slinger, Wisconsin
2022 Fire Museum Seminar
Slinger, Wisconsin
Sunday, June 19 - Wednesday, June 22, 2022 — Golden, Colorado
2022 Country School Association of America Conference
Golden, Colorado
Thursday, June 23 - Tuesday, June 28, 2022 — Tacoma, Washington
ALHFAM 2022 CONFERENCE & ANNUAL MEETING
Tacoma, Washington
Monday, August 1 - Friday, August 5, 2022 — Owings Mills, Maryland
ASSOCIATION OF NATURE CENTER ADMINISTRATORS 2022 ANNUAL SUMMIT
Owings Mills, Maryland
Wednesday, September 14 - Saturday, September 17, 2022 — Buffalo, New York
American Association for State and Local History 2022 On-site and Virual Conferences
Buffalo, New York