Groundbreaking Ceremony for Kelsey Museum of Archaeology Expansion
May 11, 2006
I want to welcome all of our guests today, and extend a special welcome to Edwin and Mary Meader and members of their family.
The highlight of our ceremony will come in a few minutes when several of us grab shovels and excavate a little sand to commemorate this historic groundbreaking.
I can’t think of a better symbol of archaeology, a dig, and the treasures that follow.
Francis Kelsey knew the beauty and science that came with excavations and the resulting analysis. It is through archaeology that we see art, culture, architecture, life and death. Dr. Kelsey was a practitioner and proponent of archaeology as a science, and his expeditions throughout the world — and specifically in the Mediterranean — established the foundation of holdings in the museum that bears his name.
Today is about a second prominent name, that of University alumnus William Upjohn. At the same time Professor Kelsey was establishing himself as one of the country’s foremost scholars and teachers of archaeology, Mr. Upjohn was revolutionizing medicine. What today we take for granted — a pill that is easy to digest — transformed pharmaceutical medicine in the late 19th century and established the Upjohn Company as one of the great Michigan corporations. Just last week, Mr. Upjohn was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
William Upjohn personified innovation, dedication and public service — traits that served Francis Kelsey equally well in his ventures.
The expansion of the Kelsey Museum will be known as the William E. Upjohn Exhibit Hall. It will allow the University to better store and display its priceless collections, while also providing our researchers with more space, and our patrons with more exhibits.
This expansion, and greater exposure of our archaeological holdings, is possible because of a true treasure, the philanthropy of Edwin and Mary Meader.
Mary and Ed, I speak for our faculty and students, and researchers around the world, in thanking you for your generosity. Because of you, future generations will enjoy the jewels of the Kelsey and all that they hold in explaining our world.
The expansion of the Kelsey coincides with the growth of its neighbor across the street — the University’s Museum of Art. Like the Kelsey, the Art Museum has been able to showcase only a fraction of its collections because of limited space. Both museums are now benefiting from the foresight of donors, and our community is richer for it.
Francis Kelsey loved archaeology. He believed strongly in collecting artifacts and protecting them in museums, so that might be examined, exhibited and preserved. He said: “There is no object that bears the imprint of human mind, that shows purposeful expenditure of human energy in past ages, that does not come under this science.”
Upjohn Hall will continue the legacy of Francis Kelsey, because of the vision of Mary and Edwin Meader. It is a remarkable treasure we will always value.