The Oriental Institute Museum is a major unit of the Oriental Institute, which is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization devoted to the study of the ancient civilizations and cultures of the Near East. The Institute operates as an academic unit of the University of Chicago. The mission of the Institute is to increase and disseminate knowledge by engaging in research and scholarship on the art, archaeology, history and languages of the geographical region that extends from North Africa and Egypt in the west to the Persian plateau in the east and from Anatolia in the north to Arabia in the south. In historical terms, research at the Institute covers all aspects of Near Eastern cultures and civilizations from prehistoric to recent Islamic times.
The Institute helped launch the first era of exploration of humankind’s remote past in the Near East, the cradle of civilization. Today its collection is one of the most significant repositories of excavated art objects and artifacts from major Near Eastern archaeological sites.
The Oriental Institute Museum was established in perpetuity to preserve, maintain and exhibit the Institute’s collection of art, artifacts, manuscripts, photographs, and records acquired through research, division of finds from expeditions and excavations, purchase, and gift.
The mission of the Oriental Institute Museum is: To care for and preserve the collections and records. To provide accurate documentation and information on the collections To make the collections available to students and scholars for research To exhibit the collections in a clear and informative manner To educate the general public and specialized audiences about the art and civilizations of the ancient Near East, and to attract students into this field of research through permanent and special exhibitions, loans, lectures, educational programs, and other events.
The Oriental Institute Museum collection, virtually unparalleled throughout the world, stands as a permanent resource that allows free scholarly inquiry to continue as fresh intellectual approaches emerge, even as the political vicissitudes of Near Eastern countries affect access to archaeological sites. For its many visitors, the museum offers a unique window on our rich and diverse cultural heritage. The Oriental Institute Museum is dedicated to the task of preserving and enhancing the display of this superb collection for the education of future generations.