The Fordham Museum of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Art outshines you in certain areas.
Can a one-room museum at Fordham University fill a void in ancient Greek, Etruscan and Roman art in New York City? It can according to Jennifer Udell, Fordham’s Curator of Fine Art. “We actually have better and more examples of Etruscan pieces than the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” Jennifer said. “That’s what makes this work important and notable. “
The collection of 271 objects is the largest gift of art in Fordham’s history. It was donated by Fordham alumnus William D. Walsh. Jennifer was chosen to organize the collection, and so she became a one-woman whirlwind with many different titles: docent, conservator, educator and writer. During our visit, she referred humorously to her own “beautifully written panels.”
Walsh, a Harvard Law graduate, started his legal career prosecuting the infamous Gambino family. Feeling it was a bit sordid, he changed his career to finance and started collecting art.
Besides her humor, Jennifer’s passion for and knowledge of these objects was undeniable. Showing us the carpet mosaic at the entrance, she explained that it literally had to be carved out of Walsh’s house, and then elaborately reconstructed on the museum’s wall.
A collection of 732 framed ancient coins came with a compelling story. They were donated not by Walsh, but by Bronx born-and- bred Thomas Maroney. When he was a soldier in World War II, he found the coins in a foxhole!
We saw bowls, vases, a flask in the shape of a bird, and a sculpted head of Hadrian, the fourteenth emperor of Rome. Students love a ram-headed drinking cup since it is not only associated with drinking, but also because the ram is Fordham’s mascot.
The antiquities date from the 10 th century B.C. through the 3 rd century A.D. The museum is free and open to the public, Monday through Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. if you go, you will not only see Fordham’s beautiful campus, you will also have Fun with Ancient Art. For more information, call 718-817- 3590.