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Item 7

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Item 7. That was all I could find out about this lion's head fragment today. It hangs on the wall on the western side of the Hall of Architecture, near the casts of the Elgin marbles. I assume it is a cast, like the others, but it was perplexing that no one in Information, Security, or the front desk could tell me what it was or point me to any directory of the artifacts. Answers were vague. I felt a little odd asking - but it did make me realize how many people walk through that Hall, marveling at the sculpture and architectural fragments, but don't feel they need to know what they are looking at, or don't have the time to pursue it. Some of the items have very old labels posted near or on them, and there are a couple of framed legends, but many things are not identifiable by a visitor. Someone must know, right? Or why would it be in the museum? (What is a museum for...?)

UPDATE, December 1: Mystery resolved. Just had a wonderful phone conversation with an assistant at the museum's Heinz Architectural Center. She told me that my mysterious "Item 7" is the head of a lion with a cartouche of the king Nectanebo, Egyptian Dynasty 30, circa 3076 [or 376?] B.C.E., and that the cast had been purchased from the Louvre, which still owned the original. She also said that they are well aware of the difficulty visitors have in identifying items in the Hall of Architecture, and are at work on new signage or some kind of information system. There may even be an exhibition in the works to celebrate the Hall's centennial next year...

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