Caravans of Gold, Fragments of Time is curated by Kathleen Bickford Berzock, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Block Museum.

This exhibition has required the input and dedication of specialists from across fields of study working on three continents. Many have contributed to the story presented here. During the planning stages of Caravans of Gold, specialists from across disciplines, including art history, comparative literature, and archaeology, came to Northwestern University for a series of meetings where exhibition content was debated, discussed, and developed. The exhibition has benefited particularly from partnerships with the following institutions: in Mali, the Direction nationale du patrimoine culturel, the Institut des hautes études et des recherches islamiques Ahmed Baba, the Institut des sciences humaines, and the Musée national du Mali; In Morocco, the Fondation nationale des musées, the Ministère de la culture et de la communication, Royaume du Maroc, and the Musée Bank al-Maghrib; and in Nigeria, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments.

Scholars and museum directors from partners in Mali, Morocco, and Nigeria meet at The Block Museum during the week of the exhibition opening.

Lenders to the exhibition
The Aga Khan Museum, Toronto
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

The British Museum, London

Direction nationale du patrimoine culturel, Bamako
Institut des hautes études et de recherches islamiques Ahmed Baba, Timbuktu
Institut des sciences humaines, Bamako
Musée national du Mali, Bamako

Bank Al-Maghrib, Rabat
Fondation nationale des musées, Rabat
Ministère de la culture et de la communication, Rabat

National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Abuja

United States
Adler Planetarium, Chicago, IL
American Numismatic Society, New York, NY
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University Libraries, Evanston, IL
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
The Field Museum, Chicago, IL
Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA
Hispanic Society of America, New York, NY
Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, NY
Logan Museum of Anthropology, Beloit College, Beloit, WI
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, IL
Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, Northwestern University Libraries, Evanston, IL
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH
The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD

Caravans of Gold has been made possible in part by two major planning and implementation grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor. Caravans of Gold is also generously supported in part by Northwestern University’s Buffett Institute for Global Studies. An anonymous donor has made possible the exhibition’s travel to the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Myers Foundations, the Alumnae of Northwestern University, the Robert Lehman Foundation, the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and the Evanston Arts Council, an agency supported by the City of Evanston. Special thanks to Perucca Family Foundation and the Art Institute of Chicago for curatorial research support at an early stage of this exhibition.

The publication Caravans of Gold is generously supported in part by Northwestern University’s Office for Research, Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, a gift from Liz Warnock to the Department of Art History at Northwestern University, and the Sandra L. Riggs Publications Fund at The Block Museum of Art.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


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With generous support from:

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Quotations from medieval Arabic authors throughout the exhibition and this site are adapted from Nehemia Levtzion and J.F.P. Hopkins, Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West African History (2000).