Unknown Egyptian , Shabti figure, Wood and pigment, Gift of Mr. Edgar Banks 1958.18
September 18, 2020 – January 3, 2021

Storied Objects

Relics and Tales from the Thomas R. Baker Museum

After a devastating fire destroyed the original Rollins Museum in 1909, the college made a broad public appeal via letters, posters, and newspaper ads for donations of “museum quality” specimens (of any type), in hopes that the museum could eventually be reestablished. Individuals and institutions across the country responded generously, and by 1920 almost 10,000 objects of cultural, historical, and natural significance had been received. These donations would form the nucleus of what came to be called the Thomas R. Baker Museum of Natural History, a campus and community fixture until its closure in the 1970s.

This exhibition relates the story of the eclectic Baker Museum collection by highlighting the life histories or “biographies” of a selection of its cultural artifacts, which collectively span five continents and more than 5,000 years of the human past. The disparate origins and meandering trajectories of these individual works help to illuminate a remarkable entanglement of historical events, individuals, and artifacts whose paths intersected at Rollins during the first half of the 20th century. Storied Objects: Relics and Tales of the Thomas R. Baker Museum is the culmination of a collaboration between Zackary I. Gilmore, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Archaeology at Rollins College, Robert Vander Poppen., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Classical Art & Archaeology, and students from their Public Archaeology and Digital Methods in Archaeology courses. 

See the the 360-degree virtual view of this exhibition.

Native American (Sioux), Beaded bag, ca. 1850, Animal hide, glass beads, cloth, Given to Rollins College in 1925 by the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History 1977.82.6
Unknown Pre-Columbian, Standing male figure, 200 BCE-400 CE, Terracotta and pigment, Gift of Mr. Bernard Bennett 1978.15

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Monday closed
Tuesday 10 a.m - 7 p.m.
Wednesday-Friday 10 a.m - 4 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday Noon - 5 p.m.

1000 Holt Avenue-2765
Winter Park, FL 32789