Cyrus Cylinder Brings 2,600 Years of World History to Smithsonian in U.S. Debut

When the Cylinder was rediscovered in 1879, it immediately entered the fray of public debate as invaluable proof of the historical veracity of events described in biblical scripture. In the early 20th century, supporters of the creation of the state of Israel compared the actions of British King George V to those of Cyrus, allowing Jews to return to Jerusalem. When the Cylinder was loaned to Iran in 2010, it was viewed by more than 1 million people, one of the most visited exhibitions in the country's history.

"The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning" includes related objects that highlight some of the artistic, cultural and historical achievements of the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 B.C.E.) of Iran, such as architectural fragments, finely carved seals and luxury objects from the Oxus Treasure. Curated by John Curtis, Keeper of Special Middle East Projects at the British Museum, the show will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles through October.

The exhibition is organized by the British Museum in partnership with the Iran Heritage Foundation and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, and is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Additional support for the Sackler's presentation is provided by the Leon Levy Foundation, the Ebrahimi Family Foundation and the Foundation for Iranian Studies.

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Avenue S.W., and the adjacent Freer Gallery of Art, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day (closed Dec. 25), and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information about the Freer and Sackler galleries and their exhibitions, programs and other public events, visit For generAl Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000.

@FreerSackler, #CyrusCylinder

SOURCE Freer|Sackler, Smithsonian

Cyrus Cylinder Brings 2,600 Years of World History to Smithsonian in U.S. Debut