Allard Pierson Museum


The Allard Pierson Museum is the archaeological museum of the University of Amsterdam. It is situated at the Oude Turfmarkt 127 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Artifacts from the ancient civilizations of ancient Egypt, the Near East, the Greek World, Etruria, and the Roman Empire are curated and exhibited in this museum.

Allard Pierson
The name of the Allard Pierson Museum derives from the first professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Amsterdam, Allard Pierson (1831-1896). This former clergyman was invited in 1877 to occupy the chair of Aesthetics, Art History, and Modern Languages at the newly founded university. His passion for antiquity, fuelled by his travels to the Mediterranean area, led to his assembling a collection of plaster casts from 1877 to 1895.

Founding of the museum
The second professor of archeology at the University of Amsterdam was Jan Six, who had a large personal collection of books and antique objects. At his death in 1926, the university was interested in acquiring this collection. In 1932, Pierson's son Jan Lodewijk established the Allard Pierson Foundation in order to make an antiquities collection available for research and teaching. The collection was brought to a building on the Weesperzijde in Amsterdam, with the uppermost floor serving as a museum. The collection grew due to purchases, gifts, and loans of artifacts and documents. On 12 November 1934, the Allard Pierson Museum was officially opened in a building at Sarphatistraat 129-131 (corner of the Roeterstraat). This building eventually proved to be too small.

The building
A new building became available when the Nederlandse Bank vacated their monumental office at the Oude Turfmarkt in 1976. On the occasion of the opening of the museum at this location by H.R.H. Princess Beatrix on 6 October of that year, some large pieces of sculpture were donated to the museum.

The collection
The ancient civilizations of ancient Egypt, the Near East, the Greek World, Etruria, and the Roman Empire are revived in this museum. Art objects and utensils dating from 4000 BC to 500 AD give a good impression of everyday life, mythology, and religion in Antiquity. There are also several scale models of ancient temples and buildings. In the Ancient Egypt department there is a room dedicated to death, with mummies, sarcophagi, and a film showing the process of mummification. The plaster-cast attic, to be visited only with a guided tour, shows copies of world-famous Roman and Greek statues.

The Society of Friends
The exhibitions and activities of the museum are supported by the Society of Friends of the Allard Pierson Museum, established in 1969. The Society has around 1500 members at present.

Building Activity

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