The Museum Closes
Dr. Tushingham officially resigned from Queen’s in February of 1955. It was announced by Dr. Smith on April 4th, 1955, that Dr. Tushingham would take over as Head of the Ontario Museum of Archaeology for the upcoming year. For a time, the Queen’s Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology existed at Queen’s without Dr. Tushingham, and without even an archaeologist in any department at Queen’s to look after it. Likely suspecting that the Museum, and its collections, would not be able to sustain itself without him, Dr. Tushingham began the process of trying to get the archaeological material transferred to the ROM in October of 1955. Tushingham wrote to all parties who had a hand in the Museum to get their approval before making any formal plans to move the collection. This process included writing to the Bickell Foundation, both the Principals of Queen’s Theological College and University, as well as the President of ASOR. Eventually getting approval from all parties, the archaeological items were packed up on November 1st 1955, and sent to the Royal Ontario Museum on a temporary loan agreement which would eventually be nullified when the transfer became a “full gift” acquisition from Queen’s.
Where Are They Now?
The material arrived at the ROM, and was accessed in two groups: the Jericho material, and the Dhiban material. The Jericho material was given accession code 955.165.1-87; ‘955’ representing the year of accession (1955), ‘165’ indicating that it was the 165th acquisition group that year, and ‘1-87’ corresponding to the individual item number within that accession group. The Dhiban material is a more complex matter. For unknown reasons, the Dhiban material’s relation to Queen’s became confused or lost during its accession. The code that the materials from Queen’s were accessed under was 955.231. However, 955.231 remained an open series for the Dhiban material, and thus it is unclear which items now in the 955.231 group were on exhibit at Queen’s. Over the years a few items from the Jericho collection were included in travelling exhibitions, and today a very few items remain on display at the ROM in the Wirth Gallery of the Near East, the famous plastered human skull (955.165.1) being one. The rest of the Jericho and Dhiban items are stored within the West Asia Department and will soon be available through the ROM’s online collections database.