Artifacts on display at Lake Tahoe Community College | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Artifacts on display at Lake Tahoe Community College

by Nancy Oliver Hayden

The Perry Foundation Collections and Loans at Lake Tahoe Community College was started more than 20 years ago by John Perry, faculty member emeritus at the college. Perry is passionate about the collection and the way it enhances the learning experience of students. He also takes great pleasure in sharing the artifacts and antiquities as well as his knowledge about them with the community.

Each year Perry shows acquisitions that fit themes appropriate to the history and humanities classes that he teaches at LTCC. The customary fall exhibit is “The Development of Ancient Human Skills” and consists of nearly 100 authentic ancient artifacts and artistic items, many of which have changed since last fall’s exhibit. The exhibit will be open to the general public from 2 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, in room B-103 at LTCC.

“I wanted my history and humanities students to study original art and artifacts in the fine San Francisco Bay Area museums, but changes in the law had made it increasingly difficult to transport them there,” Perry said. “The solution was to try to create collections that would meet student needs and add a dimension to the community. The collections have grown marvelously ever since and it is thrilling to work with these materials.”

Materials are prepared for use in History 101: Western Civilizations. Class will start at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 18 and the exhibit may also be used in other related classes.

The 2007 exhibits include items showing the development of Paleolithic to Neolithic stoneworking, from flaking, knapping and chipping to microchipping, cutting and eventually polishing stones; basketry and clothmaking from using bark and gourds to coiling and weaving fibers. Also featured are ceramics including black-topped redware, protogeometric, black-figure and red-figure; written language such as pictographs, hieroglyphics, and cuneiform; and metalworking, which are mostly bronze tools, weapons and implements of magic. Items range from 50 to 250,000 years of age and are from North Africa, the Middle and Near East, the Mediterranean and the Americas.

“The Metropolitan Museum’s great time-lines of art and artifacts are a great inspiration for this exhibit. We can’t begin to equal the quality and quantity they have. What we can show prepares students for forays into the grander collections,” Perry said. “Our collections begin about 250,000 years ago, but most of the pieces in our exhibit range from about 6,000 to 2,000 years of age.”

“The foundation’s roots were established by the help of the college and the community,” Perry said. “With the help of college presidents, James W. Duke and Guy Lease, as well as Roberta Mason and the late Patricia Amundson representing the college board, we created this specialized foundation to enrich the student experience.”

The Perry Foundation is a nonprofit organization and all items on display have been provided with private funds to “enhance and encourage the study of history at Lake Tahoe Community College.” Appropriate donations are welcome and are tax deductible.

Although the open house will provide an opportunity for the public to view the collections, they may be seen at other times by appointment and groups and classes are welcome. The best availability for appointments is before Sept. 14, but some appointments should be possible until late November, depending on the use of the room by college classes, which start Sept. 17. For appointments, call (530) 541-4660, ext. 252.


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