Connect, Conserve, Curate

Archives everywhere conserve objects of cultural heritage for future generations, but archives are often endangered and forgotten. Do not forget, engage! Explore how archives connect us with our past and future through ISAC's Cultural Heritage Experiment. The CHE has loaned archival objects to undergraduates since 2018. Your object will allow you to engage with the archive, interact with the past, and imagine new contexts. Join us! In 2023 the CHE will be lending out physical objects to students for FALL QUARTER. 


  • You will have the opportunity to take part in a tour of the ISAC Museum Archives.
  • Take part in a weekly scavenger hunt for ISAC prizes. 
  • Return Day for objects will take place in December and refreshments will be served!


ISAC's archives encompass materials spanning nearly 120 years, documenting the beginning of studies of West Asia and North Africa at the University of Chicago around 1900 and the history of ISAC. Contained within the walls of the archive are administrative documents, correspondence, dictionary projects, excavation records, film, faculty papers, and photography

The archival record is constantly in flux due to the fact that it continues to expand while being subject to processes of cataloging, curation, and digitization. In light of this reality, the vastness of the ISAC Museum Archives is not yet fully understood and new treasures are always coming to light. The scale and scope of the archives makes using and organizing them a mode of excavation. This process is essential not only for preserving the past for future generations, but for ensuring their discoverability in the present. The Cultural Heritage Experiment is one way in which you can participate in making our history visible now.


The categories of objects available for loan include: photographs, plans, posters, drawings, maps, silk screens, folios, casts, replicas, and prints. Depending on the year, between 50 objects will be loaned out to all students at the University of Chicago. This year, the CHE will be in-person adhering to all University of Chicago guidelines.


  • A version of the loan document that you will sign is available here.
  • A list of potential items for distribution can be found here.

For more information, contact the ISAC Archivist

Anne Flannery at



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Wednesday, October 11th, 11am - 2pm

Lecture Hall at ISAC