A Brief History of the Cuneiform Collection at
the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, MD


After the conclusion of the civil war, William Walters (1819-1894) returned to his Baltimore home from an extended stay I Europe. It was at this time that he began the tradition of opening his home at 65 Mount Vernon Place to visitors every Wednesday in April and May, for a 50 cent admission fee which was then donated to the Baltimore Association for the Improvement in the Condition of the Poor. In 1878, these openings became an annual event.

Most of the ancient Near Eastern art in the Walters collection was acquired by Henry Walters (1848-1931). In 1900, Henry bought the three houses next to the property his father owned to both house and display the family collection. Henry Walters opened this site to the public in 1909. When he died in 1931, the collection was left to the mayor and the city council of Baltimore for the benefit of the public.

The Walters Art Museum, formerly the Walters Art Gallery, is now a public institution.

Alice Petty, Curatorial Research Assistant, Ancient Art, for the Discover Babylon Project