October 19, 2013
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JESSICA RINALDI FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE
With a collection that can look anciently opaque from the outside but is in fact full of wonders, the Semitic Museum is on the cusp of great change.
Under its new director, professor Peter der Manuelian, technology — from 3-D printing to the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift — is playing a leading role.
Dedicated to the archeology, history, and culture of the Ancient Near East, the museum holds more than 40,000 items, including sculpture and cylinder seals.
Many of its holdings are from excavations in Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Cyprus, and Tunisia, sponsored by the museum.
The basement is for hands-on research and an ongoing project involving the baking and cleaning of thousands of clay tablets.
Manuelian’s hope is that, even as the Semitic continues its activities in overseas digs and research, it will also become a pace-setting museum.