A new case has been installed in the Hatcher Graduate Library’s Audubon Room for the dedicated display of material from the Library’s collection of ancient papyri.
Arthur Verhoogt, Associate Professor of Papyrology and Greek and the collection's acting archivist, says the case will facilitate public access to the collection. “There is a continuous flow of people—from the U-M community, and also from the general public—who have heard about our world-famous papyrus collection, and come to the Papyrology Rooms asking whether they can see ancient papyrus,” Verhoogt says. But the Collection, which is one of the largest in the world, isn’t staffed to accommodate such drop-in visitors, and the papyri are necessarily kept in a secure, climate-controlled vault that is not accessible to the public.
The Parsons Papyrology Exhibit Case ensures that there will always be at least one piece of ancient papyrus available for public viewing. The inaugural item is a sheet of gazelle leather containing Greek hymns from the 7th century, which is part of the Sacred Hands exhibit in the Audubon Room (through March 4; the exhibit also includes several other papyri). Verhoogt says the item on display will change approximately every three months, which is as long as such documents can be on display, though the case is equipped with climate control and special lighting.
See the video below, from a story on Montage, for more about the collection and the new case.