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Trinity College Dublin

Centre for Mediterranean and Near Eastern Studies

MNES LogoTrinity College Weingreen Museum Digitisation Project

Consultation with three experts (and one institution) in related fields forms the initial stage in this planned project of constructing a digital online catalogue of the holdings of the Weingreen Museum. The Weingreen Museum of Biblical Antiquities holds over 2,000 objects, which encompass the entire Mediterranean world from North Africa to Mesopotamia and from the oldest city in the world, Jericho (9th millennium BCE), to the Crusades of the thirteenth century CE. The collection is comprised of objects and mini-collections that have been given as gifts or are on permanent loan to TCD, as well as those purchased by Prof. Jacob Weingreen or by College. A number of important artefacts came through the Old Library collection. As it stands, only a fraction of this unique collection is on display. While some of the Museum's artefacts have been studied and published, the fact that the Museum has no electronic, searchable catalogue or facilities for simultaneous display and examination means that there is limited access to the collection for further examination by specialists. We plan to make this unique and mainly unknown collection accessible by developing a searchable, online catalogue as a free open access resource that would allow scholars and the general public to interact with one of Trinity College's important collections. The long-term result of this project is further research on and publication of the Museum's holdings. In conjunction with the development of the online catalogue, we also envisage a publication of the Museum's highlights.
Another important aspect of the collection is the outreach element. As a unique resource in Ireland, we are visited regularly by school groups as well as historical societies. Unlike at the National Museum or other local institutions, visitors can have hands-on experience of ancient artifacts and we have workshops for our visitors that are tailored to their needs and interests. Currently there is no possibility for these groups to interact with the material either before or after their visit and this limits the place of the collection within the educational environment in Ireland. An online catalogue with a detailed description of each object accompanied by images would open up this collection to wider study as well as facilitating outreach.

Stage 1.
To plan the execution of such a project, we need to consult with experts in the following areas: conservation, near eastern artifacts, and a database expert. The primary step must be to ensure the care of the collection, followed by advice as to how we might group and catalogue the artifacts and then technical expertise with regard to constructing a suitable database and interface. We have looked to the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology based at University College London as a model for our project. It is also envisaged the Curator of the Weingreen Museum would visit this institution to study their research and outreach organisation and facilities.

Stage 2.
Appointment of MNES Postdoctoral Fellow, 2008. Her/his first brief will be to develop a full project proposal for IRCHSS, or possibly FP7 ICT-2007.4.3: Digitised museum collections and technology-enhanced learning. She/he will also develop an artefact-specific research project connected with the collection.

Stage 3.
Appointment of project personnel - artefact expert, conservator, technical (database and electronic interface) experts; execution of project. Completion 2012.

Contact: Pat Carty Last updated: Jan 28 2019.