BOSTON — Step into the sanctuary of the African Meeting House and you will walk on the same ancient floorboards where Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison and other prominent abolitionists railed against slavery in the 19th century, and where free black men gathered to shape the famed 54th Massachusetts Civil War regiment.
Following a painstaking, $9 million restoration, the nation’s oldest black church building is set to reopen to the public early next month. Beverly Morgan-Welch, who has spent more than a decade spearheading the project, calls the three-story brick building the nation’s most important African American historic landmark.
“This space has the echo of so many of the greats of their time … who were trying to figure out a way to end slavery,” said Morgan-Welch, executive director of the Museum of African American History.
Built in 1806 at a cost of $7,700, the meeting house sits on a quiet side street in Boston’s upscale Beacon Hill neighborhood, in the shadow of the Massachusetts Statehouse and nestled among handsome brownstones and exclusive private residences. Read more.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey is displaying a full statue of Hercules for the first time since a U.S. museum returned the top half after two decades of negotiations.
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts last month returned the top half of Weary Heracles, Greek for Hercules. Turkey says the top piece was stolen from an archaeological site in Turkey in 1980 and smuggled to the U.S.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew the 1,900-year-old statue back with him at the end of a trip to the U.S. in September.
Turkish Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay inaugurated the display of the statue with both parts rejoined at a museum in Antalya on Sunday.
Gunay said Turkey was determined to retrieve other artifacts believed to be smuggled out of the country. (source)
The Museum of Fine Arts ended a more than two-decade-old dispute with Turkey Thursday by returning the top half of its “Weary Herakles’’ statue to Turkish officials. The 1,800-year-old Roman sculpture has been at the MFA since 1982. But after years of negotiations, the MFA acknowledged in July that the statue, which experts believe was probably looted from an excavation in Turkey, should be sent back to that country.
Turkish officials met with MFA leaders for less than an hour on Thursday to sign an agreement transferring ownership of the sculpture to the Turkish government. The agreement stated that the MFA acquired the work in good faith and without knowing about any of the questionable circumstances surrounding its path from Turkey to Boston. Read more.
Lowell Project Finds Clues About Life Around 1800s Church
BOSTON — Last year, archaeologists discovered a world of hard work, simple toys and shanty structures in the ground in Lowell. This year, they’re expanding their search in the hope of gaining more insight into the world of some of Massachusetts’ first Irish settlers.
For the second consecutive year, professors and students from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell and archeologists from Northern Ireland’s Queen’s University-Belfast have spent the last week digging near Lowell’s St. Patrick’s Church to uncover more clues about the lifestyle of one of the city’s most influential immigrant groups.
The settlers, who moved from Boston to Lowell to work as canal builders at the textile mills, built the church in 1822. Led by Northern Ireland native Hugh Cumminsky, the group of Irish immigrants walked the 30 miles to Lowell in search of a better life. Read more.
The top half of the Weary Herakles statue, which was bought by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1982, is to be returned to its native Turkey.
After an ongoing dispute, the MFA will reunite the bust with its lower half at the Antalya Museum later this year.
The announcement is seen as a victory for Turkey which is trying to retrieve artefacts it believes have been looted throughout the years.
It is thought the full statue will return to Boston on a short-term loan.
The top half of the sculpture of weary demigod Hercules was purchased in 1981 from a German dealer, by the MFA and late New York art collecter Leon Levy.
A year later, it was displayed at the US museum before being put into storage in 2007.
Turkish archaeologists were convinced the bust had been looted and taken from the country. At the same time, the lower half of the statue was discovered in 1980 at Perge in southern Turkey. Read more.