‘Weapons Throughout Time’ exhibition opens Oct. 23

Oct 14th, 2009 | By | Category: Arts & Entertainment, Issue, October 15, 2009

A sharp, new exhibit is opening at the University of Nebraska State Museum.

On Oct. 23, the museum in Morrill Hall will unsheathe “Weapons Throughout Time,” an exhibit that explores weapons spanning more than 9,000 years of history. The exhibit, shown in the Cooper Gallery on the third floor, will feature select artifacts from the museum’s extensive collection of weapons that have been used for defense, survival and ceremony. Visitors will have a close-up look at the technology and cultural influences found in weapons used throughout time and across the world, from 13th-century Samurai swords to World War I automatic weapons. The exhibit will remain on display through August.

A vast array of weaponry will be presented, highlighting their purposes as instruments for combat, hunting, fishing, sports and traditional ceremonies. Examples include prehistoric stone arrow points used in the Great Plains, Amazonian blow darts, Zulu hunting spears, Japanese and Samoan armor, and Middle Eastern, Asian and Western firearms. Ceremonial weapons include swords, clubs, shields, and spears. Other objects on display include helmets, crossbows, boomerangs, bayonets, knives, and much more.

“Weapons are not what most people normally associate with the State Museum, but our collections are diverse and deep, and ‘Weapons Throughout Time’ shows that off,” said Mark Harris, associate director of the museum. “These are more than tools of survival and warfare; they are cultural works of art.”

The exhibit was curated by anthropology division staff Susan Curtis and Paul Erickson, with assistance from Alan Osborn, anthropology research associate professor and curator, and exhibit specialists Joel Nielsen and Ron Pike.

Curtis said she is pleased to be able to share these fascinating weapons from the museum’s collections.

“Each object teaches us something about the culture that produced it – their technology, their artistic styles, and their use of weapons for hunting, fighting and ceremony,” she said. “By comparing the range of weapons gathered for this exhibit, we can see how diverse cultures start with a common need and make a weapon that is distinct to their culture.”

This exhibit is made possible in part by the many donors and lenders, including Gary Muckel and the Grand Lodge Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Nebraska, who support the museum by entrusting these cultural treasures in the care of the anthropology division staff.

The University of Nebraska State Museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and Friday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free for UNL faculty, staff and students and their immediate families with a valid NCard. General admission is $5 for adults (19 and over), $3 for children (free 4 years and under), and $10 for families (up to two adults and children). There is an additional charge for planetarium shows.

For more information, go to www.museum.unl.edu or contact Dana Ludvik at dludvik2@unl.edu or 472-3779.

— By Dana Ludvik, University of Nebraska State Museum

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