Mercer University’s Jack Tarver Library to Unveil New Exhibit of Ancient Artifacts from the Holmes Collection
Thursday, October 10th, 2019
Mercer’s Jack Tarver Library on Oct. 21 and 23 will host special events to celebrate the debut of its latest installment of ancient artifacts from the Holmes Collection given to the University by Dr. and Mrs. Y. Lynn Holmes of Carrollton.
“Mightier Than the Sword: The Origins of Writing” will open Oct. 21, 5:30-7:30 p.m., in Tarver Library and feature guest speakers, the unveiling of the new exhibit and a reception. Speakers will include Dr. Holmes, CLA ’62, as well as faculty and students who have used the collection in their classes and who will share their thoughts on the significance of the written word. The exhibit is curated by Dr. R. Scott Nash, professor of religion in the College of Liberal Arts.
A special hands-on experience will follow Oct. 23, 7:30-9:30 p.m., in Tarver Library, where students in Theta Alpha Kappa, a national honor society for religious studies and theology, will offer a variety of activities at various stations. Those in attendance will be able to learn how writing developed from the hieroglyphics of Egypt to the printing press and try their hand at writing their name in a variety of alphabets. Refreshments will be provided, as well.
Both events are free and open to the public.
“As a historian, I recognize the challenge of making the past come alive for students. The Mercer community is able to experience and appreciate firsthand the richness of ancient cultures thanks to the Holmes Holy Land Ancient Artifact Collection. Dr. and Mrs. Y. Lynn Holmes generously gave these items to the University in order to share their love of history with Central and South Georgia,” said Dr. Jeffrey Waldrop, dean of the University Libraries.
Dr. Holmes, born in Vidalia, graduated from Mercer in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. His interest in ancient artifacts developed during his time at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree. He began collecting artifacts during his graduate work at Brandeis University while earning his master’s and doctoral degrees in ancient history and ancient linguistics. Multiple trips to the Hebrew University as well as leading a group of students from the University of West Georgia to Israel for an archaeological excavation deepened his passion for collecting artifacts. Professionally, he has served as a teacher, scholar and administrator, holding posts ranging from research fellow to professor to college president. He has published numerous scholarly papers on ancient history and the modern Middle East.
Mrs. Holmes was born to Christian parents in Palestine. She studied in a French Catholic school in Jerusalem and became fluent in four languages. She also studied at the University of West Georgia and Brewton-Parker College. She is a community speaker on the cultures, customs and people of the Middle East.
The Holmes Collection resides at Mercer so that it can serve as a resource on the ancient world for students, faculty and staff, as well as for the residents of Central and South Georgia. The first installment of artifacts from the collection was displayed in spring 2009.