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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Research adds historical context to artifacts at BVU

Friday, January 18, 2013

The late Keith Carter with a portion of his collection of Middle Eastern artifacts.
(Photo submitted)
Since the late educator and philanthropist Keith Carter, of Newell, donated a portion of his Middle Eastern Collection of artifacts to Buena Vista University (BVU) in 2010, students have played an important role in researching, documenting, and restoring the eclectic collection.

"It has been a great opportunity for my art and arts management students to be able to inventory, clean, frame, and research this amazing collection of artifacts," Mary Mello-Nee, associate professor of art at BVU, said. "My favorite part has been discovering the function of the items, such as the camel milking bowl or the symbols contained in the Libyan wedding necklace."

On Saturday, Jan. 26, BVU will hold a reception celebrating the Keith Carter Middle Eastern Collection from 2-4 p.m. in the art gallery located in the social sciences and art hall.

Carter spent nearly 30 years teaching elementary students in Libya and Saudi Arabia. Throughout his time abroad, Carter was an avid traveler and began collecting the objects of daily life and hospitality early in his teaching career. The collection - which is formally known as the Keith Carter Middle Eastern Collection - includes coffee and water serving pots, etchings, paintings, prints and textiles from the Middle East and around the world.

In 2010, Ryan Marzen, Class of 2012, conducted and filmed a series of interviews with Carter after he was asked by Dr. Dixee Bartholomew-Feis, dean of the School of Social Science, Philosophy and Religion at BVU, to lead a project that involved researching the artifacts.

"I enjoyed getting to know Keith's life story and about his collection," Ryan said. "Keith was a very intelligent man who had more experiences in just a few years than most people have their entire lives."

"Keith had a personal story behind how he acquired each of the artifacts," Ryan, who teaches first grade in Denison and is earning his master's degree in educational administration, added. "These stories made the artifacts invaluable and interesting."

After Carter passed away in February 2011, BVU hosted a dinner reception that fall honoring Carter's life and collection. At the reception, Alex Marcel, a junior psychology major from Stanton, interviewed Carter's closest family and friends.

"I enjoyed hearing everyone at the reception relive memories of Keith, their beloved friend and family member," Carter said. "It was also interesting to learn about the countries that Keith had spent time in and what some of the objects were that he brought back from those countries."

The collection will be on exhibit in the art gallery from Jan. 22 until Feb. 23. A large part of the collection is also on permanent display throughout the social sciences and art hall.

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