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The Lost Museum of Georgetown University: A New Exhibition

Natural history exhibit cases in the now closed Coleman Museum.

In recent years, a number of campuses have been rediscovering lost museums, from Brown University's Jenks Museum to Harvard University's Philosophy Chamber. Have you heard of Georgetown’s Coleman Museum? It existed for almost a century, then somewhat mysteriously disappeared.

Georgetown’s lost museum remains to be recovered. What was here, and for what purposes? How did this museum begin, evolve, and end? How did the Coleman Museum fit and/or defy trends in museum history? After its closure, what happened to items in its collections?

This exhibition is a striking object lesson around cultural collections related to the interlinked evolution of museums, universities, and disciplinary thinking. It showcases some of the fascinating material in Georgetown’s University Archives and Art Collection related to the Coleman Museum and other iterations of this now-defunct but once-impressive museum. The exhibition is curated by Gretchen E. Henderson and can be seen in the Kerbs Exhibit Area on the 3rd floor of Lauinger Library through mid-August. Can’t visit in person? Visit the online exhibition!