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An exhibition featuring work by Dorothy Cross, Michelle Doyle, Aleana Egan, Patrick Hough, Richard Proffitt, Charlott Weiss.

 Curated by Pádraic E. Moore and Jo Day

Opening Hours: Autumn 2021 Oct 4 - Dec 10:

                                               Mon  3pm-5:00pm

                                               Wed 11am-12:30pm

                                               Thurs 10am-12:00pm

                                               Fri     10am-12:00pm

Current Safety Protocols

Location: UCD Classical Museum, K216 Newman Building, UCD, Belfield. (opens in a new window)LINK TO MAP 

The Museum of Ancient History is a site-responsive exhibition that places artworks by six contemporary artists in dialogue with a collection of ancient artefacts from the Classical world. In bringing these two realms together this intervention raises questions around concepts of value, materiality and time. The exhibition encourages comparisons between the methodologies and techniques that visual art shares with other disciplines, particularly archaeology.

The site of this exhibition is itself something of an artwork, the legacy of western Antiquarian values displayed amidst twentieth century concrete. The museum is made all the more intriguing because of its location within the labyrinthine citadel of UCD, Belfield. While the museum has been here since the early 1970s when the university moved from Earlsfort Terrace, it was originally founded in 1910 by Henry Browne (1853–1941) – professor of Greek, keen classicist and Jesuit priest. From its inception the museum was shaped by Browne’s desire to make the ancient world as tangible as possible. In a tradition that has continued to the present, he encouraged students to have a tactile relationship with artefacts and emphasised the affective, multisensory aspects of material culture from the distant past.

While some of the contemporary artworks in this exhibition refer specifically to archaeology and excavation, others respond in a more subjective way to the atmosphere of the museum and the objects therein.

(opens in a new window)Exhibition video

(opens in a new window)Exhibition publication

Podcasts: (Coming Soon).

Funding and support kindly provided by The Arts Council, UCD College of Arts and Humanities and UCD School of Classics

(opens in a new window)

Contact: the curator of the Classical Museum, Dr Jo Day – joanna.day@ucd.ie / 01-7168476

2016-2017 Life in the Ancient World 

A series of five short podcasts were created by students on the MA/MSc module GRC40300 Ancient Materialities, and discuss various aspects of life in ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt.

  1. Greece at War (Margaret Donnelly and Dolores Kearney)
  2. Fish in Ancient Greece (Hytham Al Rashedi Martin, Crtomir Lorencic, Juan Maddrell)
  3. Egyptian Jewellery (Kaylin Bednarz and Phoebe Nolan)
  4. The Symposium (Caitlin Lobl)
  5. Hellenistic Coinage (Nikki Smith and Andrew Whyte)

2015-2016 Daily Life in Ancient Rome

This exhibition explores life in ancient Rome, including topics such as dining, bathing, gladiatorial shows, funerals, trade and technology. Artefacts on display include a funerary stele for a left-handed gladiator, terra sigillata ceramics, glass, coins and fragments of mosaics. It was curated by students on the MA module GRC40300 Ancient Materialities (Laura Butler, Sinead Keane). This exhibition coincided with a study of the Museum’s entire collection of terra sigillata, which will be published and available online in the future. Funding for this project was provided by an award from UCD College of Arts and Celtic Studies Research Project/Initiative Scheme.

2014-2015 Animating Ancient Greece

This exhibition is based around one of the Museum’s Red Figure kraters, and explores issues such as ceramic technology, the Panathenaic festival, the symposium, sacrifice and the biography of the vase itself. An animation of a scene on one side of the vase accompanies the display, and encourages viewers to think about the imagery in new ways. This exhibition was curated by students on the MA module GRC40300 Ancient Materialities (Kim Donovan, Courtney Grealish, Eoin Kearns, Jane McInerney, Aoife Walshe, Sarah Weakley). The animation was created by Panoply. For more information please click (opens in a new window)here.
Funding for this project was provided by an award from UCD College of Arts and Celtic Studies Research Project/Initiative Scheme.

2013-2014 Roman Republican Coins at the Classical Museum

This exhibition showcases the museum’s collection of Republican coinage, from early bronzes through silver denarii. It also includes the earliest coin catalogues in the museum and wooden coin display cases. The exhibition was curated by the students on the MA module GRC40300 Ancient Materialities (Emma Bates, Zach Becker, Laura Costen McCormack, Ioanna Galeadi, Dominique Geary, Daniel Kearns, Suzanne Lynch, Rachel Mahal, Rodger Mallon, Sorcha McCormack, Helen Speller). The Roman Republican coins may be viewed online in the UCD Digital Library. To view please click (opens in a new window)here.
Funding for this project was provided by UCD Seed Funding and the Heritage Council. 

2010-11 Heroes and Mortals in Ancient Greece

An exhibition celebrating 100 years of the foundation the Classical Museum. Greek heroes were a special breed of demigods who in Greek mythology occupied a special place between gods and humans. The exhibition explores how the Greeks related to their heroes and how they made them and their stories meaningful to their own lives and ideals. The exhibition displays 60 artefacts, mainly Greek vases with relevant iconography, but also coins and two Greek helmets. The five cases are arranged thematically as follows:

  1. The Trappings and Symbols of the Greek Hero
  2. Hero of the Past – Heroic Warrior of the Present
  3. The Heroes of Myth
  4. Heroes, Transgressions and Moral Lessons
  5. Greek Heroes: a Miscellany

The exhibition was launched on the 26th November 2010 by Ms Despina Valimvou, First secretary of the Greek Embassy.

The catalogue/booklet accompanying the exhibition may be purchased from the Classical Museum at the price of €2.50 or you can click on the pdf below.

2008 Questioning a New Collection

This exhibition focused on the acquisition of a new collection of east Mediterranean antiquities in the ownership of St Finian's College in Mullingar.

2005 Portraying the Women in Classical Antiquity

The exhibition explored the representation of the heads of women in the Greek and Roman world from prehistory to the late Roman period.

2004 Coins and Games

2003 The Making of the Classical Museum: Antiquarians, Collectors and Archaeologists

An exhibition detailing the history of the museum and its collection.

2001 Wine-drinking habits in Antiquity, from the Minoans to the Romans

The exhibition was organised in recognition of the fact that no other food or drink has had such a special place in society throughout the course of history as wine.

2000 All that Glitters . . .An exhibition of replicas of Aegean Bronze Age plate

An exhibition in recognition of the important work of the Gillierons as replica makers, and in particular as producers of electro-types of Minoan and Mycenean plate.

1998 Music and Dance in Ancient Greek Society

An exhibition centred on the integral part music and dance played in the lives of the ancient Greeks.

1997 Death in White and Colour

An exhibition of Attic White Lekythoi of the 5th century BC.

UCD School of Classics

Newman Building (Room K211), University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 8166 | E: tasneem.filaih@ucd.ie