Hidden Histories: Artifacts of Daily Life in the Ancient World from the Fred W. Neumann Collection and Ancient Mediterranean Textiles from the Permanent Collection

January 3 – April 22, 2023

Study Gallery and Print Study Center

In 2020, the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, received a remarkable and very generous gift: a collection of 249 artworks and artifacts from ancient and medieval Europe, Cyprus, Egypt, and the Middle East. This amazing collection was assembled by Fred W. Neumann of Brookings, Oregon, between 1967 and 1973, while he was living in Cairo and working for Trans World Airlines.

In assembling his collection, Mr. Neumann was particularly interested in the functional objects of everyday life in the ancient and medieval world. He was fascinated by how these objects were handcrafted with such incredible ingenuity and detailed attention to aesthetic form. His collection, therefore, offers unique insights into that part of history, which is often hidden from view by the better-known narratives of famous people, elite ruling classes, major monuments and inventions, and the rise and fall of the great empires. Instead, Neumann’s collection invites us into the lives of more ordinary people by means of their material culture.

This exhibition has been organized by Dr. Ann M. Nicgorski, Professor of Art History, Archaeology, and Museum Studies at Willamette University and Faculty Curator at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. The exhibition features seventy objects from the Neumann Collection, including artifacts related to cooking and serving food and drink, containers related to storage or transport, lamps for artificial lighting, assorted tools and weapons, as well as personal amulets and small-scale figurines for display in house, temple, or tomb.

The exhibition continues in the Print Study Center, where it is commingled with an exhibition of ancient textiles—mostly Coptic textiles from Egypt—from the permanent collection.

Exhibition Related Events

Members/VIP Opening Reception

Celebrating: Hidden Histories: Ancient Art from the Permanent Collections
Saturday, January 21, 2023 | 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Hallie Ford Museum of Art
Members and museum invited guests only
New Members
are welcome to join at the event or online


Or by phone at 503-370-6855 or by email at museum-art@willamette.edu



Hidden Histories: Artifacts of Daily Life in the Ancient World from the Fred W. Neumann Collection at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art
Dr. Ann M. Nicgorski, Professor of Archaeology, Art History, and Museum Studies, Willamette University and Faculty Curator, Hallie Ford Museum of Art

Thursday, February 9, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
Paulus Lecture Hall, Rm. 201, Willamette University College of Law
245 Winter St. SE, Salem, OR 97301
This event is co-sponsored by the Willamette University Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology, the Salem Chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art.

More Information


Gallery Talks

Docent led gallery talks will commence in the Maribeth Collins Lobby at the museum
Gallery talks are free and open to the public

  • Tuesday, March 7, 2023 at 12:30 p.m. (Led by HFMA docents)

  • Tuesday, March 14, 2023 at 12:30 p.m. (Led by HFMA docents)

  • Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 12:30 p.m. (Led by HFMA docents)

  • Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at 12:30 p.m. (Led by HFMA docents)

  • Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. (Led by exhibition curator Ann M. Nicgorksi)

Financial Support

This exhibition has been made possible with funds from the Hallie Ford Museum of Art Exhibition Fund; by advertising support from the Oregonian/Oregon Live; and by general operating support grants from the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy Tax funds and the Oregon Arts Commission.

Rick Silva, "Grand Staircase-Escalante," 2018

​​Cat Figurine (with incised wadjet-eye amulet), Ancient Egyptian, Late Period, 664-332 BCE, Bronze, cast; Gift of Fred W. Neumann, 2020.012.004


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