IHF America Launches Cyrus Cylinder US Tour

The launch of the Cyrus Cylinder US tour, an historical first, took place at the Smithsonian’s Sackler Galley on March 5th. At Sackler, the Cyrus Cylinder, a 2600 years old document of how to run a multi-faith society, sits next to Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of Cyropaedia (the biography of Cyrus): The Founding Fathers of the U.S. studied Cyrus’s way of ruling as a model for writing the Constitution of the United States. THE CYRUS CYLINDER WASON DISPLAY AT THE SACKLER GALLERY THROUGH APRIL 28th, VIEWED BY 155,000 VISITORS, AND IS NOW ON DISPLAY IN HOUSTON. See the 2.5-minute official video of the launch of the tour:

The Launch Event

A wide range of distinguished guests were invited to this inaugural event. In addition to an exclusive viewing of the exhibition and opening remarks by Director Julian Raby (Freer and Sackler Galleries), Director Neil MacGregor (the British Museum), and Alireza Rastegar (IHF America – the principal sponsor of the tour), the event featured a live, on-stage conversation between CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, and the British Museum’s Neil MacGregor. The complete 20-minute interview as well as its full transcript as well as the videos of all three opening remarks can be viewed on the website.

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Press Coverage

The launch of the Cyrus Cylinder tour is extensively covered by the press, setting the stage for the public opening of the first-ever exhibition of the Cyrus Cylinder in the United States.

The press event held of March 7th provided the press corp with some excellent background remarks by the directors of the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery and the British Museum, as well as the chairman of IHF America. Complete footage of the press remarks, plus the informative Q&A session which also featured the curator of the exhibition, Dr. John Curtis of the British Museum,  is available on the website. Members of press had exclusive access to the exhibition after the remarks for photography and interviews.

The Exhibition

The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: a New Beginning is curated by Dr. John Curtis of the British Museum, and co-curated in DC by Dr. Massumeh Farhad and Dr. Alex Nagel of the Freer and Sackler galleries. It includes important objects in addition to the Cyrus Cylinder, showcasing the advancements contributed by the Persian empire in Cyrus’s era to the civilization of the world as we now know:

The exhibition is now open at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and visitors can view the exhibition through April 28th.

The DC exhibition also includes a personal copy of Cyropaedia which belonged to Thomas Jefferson, on loan from the Library of Congress. Thomas Jefferson owned two copy of the book which described Cyrus’s life and his way of ruling a multi-culture, multi-faith land. Jefferson recommended reading the book to the Founding Fathers of the US.

Future Venues and Dates Across the US

After the Smithsonian’s Sackler gallery in Washington DC, the exhibition will travel to Houston, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles:

Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
March 9th through April 28th 2013

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
May 3rd through June 14th 2013

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
June 20th through August 4th 2013

Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA
August 9th through September 22nd 2013

J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, Los Angeles, CA
October 2nd through December 2nd 2013



Guests visit the Cyrus Cylinder with admiration - Photo Hasan Sarbakhshian

Guests visit the Cyrus Cylinder with admiration – Photo Hasan Sarbakhshian