In 2012, Wake Forest alumnus Timothy S. Y. Lam (’60) donated his collection of more than 500 pieces of Tang Dynasty Chinese ceramics to the Museum of Anthropology shortly before he passed away. The collection is the largest and most comprehensive group of artifacts in the United States from the Changsha kilns, an important archaeological site linked to the medieval Silk Roads. Since the donation, two long-term exhibitions have focused on this world-class collection, and individual pieces have been featured in several additional exhibits.
This year, Mr. Lam’s family continued the spirit of his original gift. Ellen Lam, his wife, and their sons, Tim Jr. (’93) and Marcus (’98) created a new academic excellence fund for the Museum. The Museum will be renamed the Timothy S. Y. Lam Museum of Anthropology in honor of Tim Sr. and the Lam family’s support of our mission.
This gift is transformational for the Museum. MOA Academic Director Dr. Andrew Gurstelle says, “We will be able to pursue new projects that wouldn’t be feasible if not for this support. The Timothy S. Y. Lam Collection is a perfect example. Several years ago, we entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Changsha Museum in Hunan, China, to collaborate on research into medieval Chinese pottery. A co-curated traveling exhibit was discussed, but it was hard to imagine being able to shoulder an expense like that, even with willing partners. Funding for new projects like this can now be realized.”
Gurstelle continues, “This is also significant for our students. Beyond participating in museum projects, this gift will mean new possibilities for independent research. I have always enjoyed working with students to incorporate advanced technologies in their research, and I am excited to brainstorm all the ways this will be enhanced. Materials analysis, radiometric dating, digital image capture technology, these are all techniques now on the table to better understand the museum’s collections.”
Coming shortly after the MOA’s recent relocation to Palmer Hall, the gift is another important step forward for the Museum. The Lam family also provided an academic excellence fund for the Department of Anthropology and endowed a faculty fellowship.
The Museum plans to formally adopt the new name and branding at the beginning of the upcoming fall semester, at which time we hope to be able to reopen to the public. We are tentatively planning a family-oriented reopening celebration in late August or early September as well as a formal ribbon cutting ceremony and reception with the Lam family at Homecoming in October. Although the pandemic continues to create planning challenges, we are cautiously hopeful that we will be able to celebrate the Museum’s exciting changes in-person with our patrons this fall.