August 6, 2004

Museum of Man Unveils New Exhibit Focusing on Pivatol Role of Weapons Throughout History

The historic and symbolic role of weapons from around the globe will be examined in the San Diego Museum of Man’s new exhibit, “Weapons of the World: Art, Technology & Symbolism,” opening Saturday, Aug. 7 and continuing through May 2005.

According to the exhibit’s curator, Javier Guerrero, the collection will spotlight more than 150 weapons of all shapes and sizes — among them blades, shields, spears and bows from Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Oceania, North America, and Latin America.

Most of the weapons in the exhibit were part of the extensive private collection of Joseph Jessop, a San Diego entrepreneur who founded the venerable J. Jessop & Sons Jewelers.

According to Guerrero, the exhibition will chronicle the evolution and development of weapons and their relationship to art, technology and symbolism. “Weapons tell us a great deal about the diffusion of culture and ideas, and how the two have moved around the globe over time.”

Guerrero adds, Jessop collected these items between 1881 and 1911, purchasing them from collectors and traders. “Mr. Jessop would make arrangements with ship captains leaving San Diego to bring back “exotic” weapons from around the world. He was a huge archery fan, so  there are many bows and arows on display, among other weapons.”

In 1917, Mr. Jessop began his relationship with the Museum of Man, loaning items to the Museum for exhibitions and education programs throughout the years. In 1974, the Jessop family made a generous gift of his entire collection to the Museum.

Although the weaponry has been included in numerous Museum of Man exhibits, this is the first time the collection has been displayed on such a large scale.

The “Weapons of the World” exhibit brings alive a collection which is significant both locally and globally, offering visitors the unique opportunity to learn and understand the ways cultures have understood and utilized weapons over time.

Located in the landmark California Tower in Balboa Park, the San Diego Museum of Man is an educational, non-profit corporation founded in 1915 to display the life and history of humankind. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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