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KEY Oklahoma City

From Vatican and Italian Prince Makes Only U.S. Stop in Oklahoma

Visitors to Oklahoma this summer have a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore a unique exhibition Unveiling Ancient Mystery: Etruscan Treasures at Shawnee’s Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art.

The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art is the only venue in the United States to host the rare exhibition of Etruscan jewelry, art and artifacts. This amazing exhibition of over 200 pieces of Etruscan gold jewelry and 30 pieces of Etruscan marble and terracotta artifacts is from the private collections of the Italian Prince Fabrizio Alliata and from the Gregorian - Etruscan Museum of the Vatican Museums.

This is the first time the Vatican Museums’ pieces have been exhibited abroad and the first time the gold jewelry ever has been exhibited. Prince Fabrizio Alliata has been extremely generous in allowing the United States, in particular the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, to be the first public venue of more than 230 excellent Etruscan pieces. Not even the Italians have had the first opportunity to view this fine collection from the prince.

Before the days of ancient Rome’s greatness, Italy was the home of a nation called Etruria, whose people we call the Etruscans. Its civilization prospered between 950 and 300 B.C. in northwestern Italy – in a region between the Arno River (which runs through Pisa and Florence) and the Tiber (which runs through Rome).

Little is known about the Etruscan language. Their alphabet has been deciphered; however, Etruscan literature is extremely rare, and the Etruscan vocabulary has yet to be understood. Like the Egyptians, much of what we know of the Etruscans comes from art and artifacts discovered in elaborate burial tombs with detailed frescoes featuring Etruscans’ love of music, games and racing. Etruscan Treasures leads visitors through full-color reproductions of the Etruscans’ whimsical and delicately executed tomb paintings.

The Etruscans were highly accomplished artisans who rose to power, then disappeared, leaving behind many unanswered questions concerning their origin, influence and culture. Scholars have learned that the Etruscan civilization profited from vital mining, export and trade industries and included social classes ranging from the aristocracy to the merchant, seaman and slave classes.

Etruscan Treasures offers outstanding examples of what remains of Etruscan art. The Etruscans were famous for their gold jewelry, which shows such highly advanced metalworking skills as granulation, the craft of soldering hundreds of tiny gold beads to the surface being decorated. Etruscan artists created pendants featuring human faces and echoed nature through flowers, acorns and leaves.

The still bright and lustrous jewelry featured in Etruscan Treasures was crafted in exquisite detail sometime between 500 and 700 B.C. and is evidence of the great wealth and artistic gift of the Etruscan people. The exhibition also includes items from everyday Etruscan households, including vases, tools, mirrors and candelabras.

Advance ticket purchase is recommended. Tickets can be purchased at online or by calling 1-800-511-1552. If you choose to ‘take a chance,’ walk-up tickets may be available – but call the museum first, 405-878-5300.

Admission to Etruscan Treasures is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and tour groups, $10 for youth ages 6 to 16, $10 for those with a student I.D. and free for children age 5 and younger. Tickets include the cost of the Antenna Audio tour.

The Mabee-Gerrer Museum is located in Shawnee on the campus of St. Gregory’s University, 1900 W. MacArthur Drive. For more information, directions or accommodations based on disability, contact the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art at (405) 878-5300 or visit

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