Museum Mission

The mission of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum is to engage members of the Johns Hopkins University, academic researchers, and both the Baltimore and worldwide public in an interactive, interdisciplinary and collaborative study of the ancient world through the examination, research, exhibition and conservation of archaeological objects.

The museum is dedicated to:

  • The preservation of the collection
  • Museum quality display and exhibitions
  • The accessibility of the collection for teaching, study and research by faculty and students
  • Interdisciplinary and collaborative research

Undergraduate students in Pier Luigi Tucci’s (History of Art) course in Roman art and archaeology examine Latin funerary inscriptions in the museum.

The museum’s mission was defined early in the history of the institution when the archaeological collection was meant as an inspiration and a unique form of accessing traces of the ancient world.  Begun in 1882 through the interest of the Departments of Classics and the Oriental Seminaries, the museum also had the support of Daniel Coit Gilman, Johns Hopkins University’s first president.  The mission is underscored in an April 1908 article in The Classical Weekly by Professor Harry Langford Wilson (Classics), who described the importance of the Hopkins archaeological collection thus:

“…of even greater importance [than the large encyclopedic museum] is the smaller working collection of the university, which fulfills in a general way the functions of a scientific laboratory.  Nothing has more power to attract and hold the attention of students, to awaken and sustain their enthusiasm than the constant presence of the tangible remains of antiquity, the actual work of Greek and Roman hands.  To students who by daily contact have become familiar with these things and understand their significance the men of old are real persons and their classical literature becomes the expression of a real life.”

For more information on how the museum collection was formed, please see our Collection page.