In 1962, Mr. Robert Bogue donated a fine and extensive collection of nearly 200 oil lamps to the Middle East Studies Center. Mr. Bogue acquired the lamps over several years while he was working in Egypt for the World Health Organization. The lamps in the Bogue Collection range in date from approximately 3000 b.c.e. through the Medieval/Arab periods and represent several diverse ancient cultures; the lamps also represent a wide variety of materials. Although some are simple and undecorated, many are museum-quality pieces with fascinating decorations and instriptions, including mythological subjects and potter’s marks. The majority are in an excellent state of preservation, completely or mostly intact.
In 1977, Dr. Bill Ward, an alumnus of Portland State University, supplemented the Center's collection of antiquities through a donation of 42 pieces of pottery and lithic artifacts representing Syro-Palestinian Proto-Urban, Early Bronze-Middle Bronze, and Late Bronze Ages.
In 2011, the Middle East Studies Center reached agreements with two local art museums to display items from these collections. Following a 2009 exhibit of items from the Bogue Collection, entitled From Hestia’s Sacred Fire to Christ’s Eternal Light, the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon will exhibit nine lamps from the collection in the Mark and Janeth Sponenburgh Gallery. The remainder of the collections will be held on long-term loan at the Portland Art Museum. Select items will be displayed for the public and the remainder of the collection will be available for study by Portland State students and scholars.
The Middle East Studies Center's collections are represented in Medieval Portland, a database gathering resources that are now in Portland, Oregon for learning about medieval Europe and the Middle East. The research presented in the searchable artwork database is from both published sources as well as original research by students in the Medieval Portland Capstone taught by Anne McClanan, Professor of Art History at Portland State University.
The Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University promotes understanding of the people, cultures, languages and religions of the Middle East. As a National Resource Center for Middle East Studies under the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI program, the Center serves as a resource on issues pertaining to the Middle East through activities that reach students and scholars, as well as businesses, educators, and the media. The Middle East Studies Center supports academic conferences, workshops, cultural events, lectures, and a resource library.