USF's Museum Blog

Supporting Cultural Heritage

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of endangered sites all over the world,  at risk of destruction by acts of war and terrorism. Last week, University of San Francisco museum studies graduate students led by Erin Golightly, Kathleen Schlier and Katie Booth developed an exhibit and resource center in a central location of Gleeson Library in order to call attention to the wanton destruction of precious cultural resources all over the world.

1000Nimrud is the Arabic name for an ancient Assyrian city located south of the city of Mosul in Iraq in northern Mesopotamia.The site was founded in the 13th century BCE. In March 2015 ISIS militants brazenly bulldozed the ancient city and bragged about the destruction on social media.


Bamiyan Valley, located in Northern Afghanistan, was once a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and art, on the ancient Silk Route that linked the markets of Asia and Europe. In March 2001, the Taliban destroyed a 1500 year old sculpture of Buddha. All that remains is a jagged cavity.

The Jaffna Public Library, which was burnt down in 1981.

The Jaffna Public Library, Sri Lanka, was once one of the largest libraries in Asia. Founded in 1933 from a private collection, soon, with the help of its local citizens, it housed 97,000 books and a large collection of priceless manuscripts. In 1981, during a period of political unrest, a mob that included police officers dressed as civilians burned the library to the ground.

pontevecchiowwii-2Ponte Santa Trinita, Italy, the tri-arched elliptical bridge spanning the Arno river in Florence, Italy was designed and built by Bartolomeo Ammannati with Michelangelo in the late 1560s. It was destroyed in 1944 by Nazi forces. Bombs leveled the historic medieval buildings at both ends of the bridge, creating a mountain of rubble.

These are only four of the many stories from all corners of the globe told at Gleeson Library.  In addition to the exhibit, we produced tri-lingual buttons, which we sent to our colleagues at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia, another cultural site that was brutally attacked by terrorists in March, 2015.


You can read more about this project by clicking here. We thank Gleeson Library and librarian Matthew Collins for their support, as well as Jordan Dresser, Fahimeh Rahravan, Nell Herbert and Miriam Blumenfeld.


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