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Yemen Culture Explored through Jewelry

Renowned Yemeni jewelry expert and author Marjorie Ransom will present a free lecture on Yemeni culture at Tibbits Opera House on May 14 at 1:00 p.m. The presentation will include examples from her collection of Yemeni jewelry and will be followed by a reception with traditional Middle Eastern-style refreshments.  Ransom will also be signing copies of her book, Silver Treasures from the Land of Sheba: Regional Yemeni Jewelry, which highlights Ransom’s vast knowledge and experience in the art of traditional Middle Eastern silver jewelry.

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In the 1960s, her 30+ year career as a United States diplomat began where she traveled with her late husband across Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Egypt, collecting more than 2000 pieces of silver jewelry. Upon retirement from the Department of State, she organized her collection into what became the Silver Speaks: Traditional Jewelry of the Middle East exhibition, which was hosted by the Arab American national Museum in 2007.

Ransom spent a year in Yemen studying jewelry and costumes and has lectured widely in the U.S. about the traditional jewelry of the Middle East. Her book is the first in-depth study of Yemeni silver, uniquely illustrated with more than 300 photographs of a world that is transforming before our eyes, and animated with the portraits of a precious legacy.

Photo 3 - Silver Treasures from the land of Sheeba by Marjorie Ransom

Funding for this program comes from the Michigan Humanities Council Heritage Grants program. Heritage Grants support projects that bring the authentic voices of cultural identity groups to the foreground. The program strives to help the people of Michigan understand cultural differences by sharing local stories about race and cultural history.

In Coldwater, Tibbits is partnering with area schools, service organizations and the Arab American community to offer a series of presentations, workshops, and exhibits aimed at fostering conversations about the history and culture of the Arab American community.

Listen to the interview on WTVB AM1590 FM95.5

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