Digital Collections

A.V. Lane Museum Collection


Photograph of the original museum with artifacts

The Original A.V. Lane Museum
Old Kirby Hall, SMU.
c. 1926–1946.

Egyptian Mummy

Egyptian mummy and cartonnage.
19th century.
Wood and polychrome.

incantation bowl

Bowl inscribed with an
Aramaic incantation.
Babylon, c. 500 BCE.

glass bottles

Three glass cosmetic bottles.
Two double-chambered.
One fragment.


Inscribed brick believed to
be from the temples of
Nebuchadrezzar, 6th century B.C.

Set of 4 alabaster canopic jars with lids

Canopic jars with lids
Late Bronze Age,1500-1200 BCE
Alabaster. Egypt.

About the Collection

Holding library: Bridwell Library

View more collections owned by Bridwell Library

CuneiformThe A.V. Lane Museum Collection is named in honor of Dallas collector Dr. Alvin Valentine Lane (1860–1938). In 1917 he began donating his collection to SMU, and on November 8, 1926 the University opened the first University Museum in old Kirby Hall (now Florence Hall of the SMU Law School), the home of the theological seminary. Two years later, to honor his generosity and leadership, the university's Trustees officially named it the A. V. Lane Museum. Old Kirby Hall housed the Museum from 1926–1946. After Dr. Lane's death in 1938, SMU Theology professor J. H. Hicks was named Director of the Lane Museum. Assisted by Kate Warnick, longtime SMU librarian, Dr. Hicks oversaw significant additions to the collections, including the 1941 purchase of four Egyptian canopic jars. The last significant addition to the Lane Museum was the Georg Steindorff archive of Egyptian archaeology, purchased in 1952. This, along with the rest of the museum's holdings, became a part of what is today Bridwell Library's Special Collections.

AV Lane

Dr. Alvin Valentine Lane was a prominent Dallas banker, scholar, and civic benefactor. Raised in New Orleans, he received his doctorate in Civil Engineering from Vanderbilt University in 1882. Joining the faculty of the new University of Texas in 1883, he soon turned to business and co-founded in 1888 what became the First National Bank in Dallas, where he served as vice-president as of 1896. He was a prominent member in several banking associations, and served his community as treasurer of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, as director of both the Dallas Public Library and Museum of Fine Arts, and as supporter of the Dallas Symphony and Historical Society. He also received the highest distinction in the order of Masons, was a trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and in 1931 earned an honorary doctorate from SMU.

Dr. Lane's lifelong interest in early Egyptian and Babylonian cultures led him to compile an extensive collection of ancient artifacts. He became a prominent member of the Archaeological Institute of America and the honorary secretary of the Texas branch of the Egyptian Exploration Society of London. In 1922 he arranged for the British Museum's permanent deposit of twelve important papyrus fragments at SMU. He died during a visit to Galveston, aged 78.

For more information about the A.V. Lane Museum Collection please contact Bridwell Library Special Collections.

Please cite Bridwell Library Special Collections, SMU, as the source of this collection. A high-resolution version of items from this collection may be obtained by contacting Special Collections (