The event: Bowers Gala fund-raiser for 1998 and the national premiere of the "Treasures From the Royal Tombs of Ur" exhibit, featuring everything from hair picks to headdresses unearthed from graves of the ancient Sumerians. Saturday's dinner-dance took place at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in Santa Ana and raised funds for the museum's operating expenses.
Royal treatment: After a champagne reception in the museum, 300 party-goers were ushered into the galleries to view 140 objects from a 5,000-year-old tomb site at Ur.
"Look at all the delicate work they do--isn't that marvelous?" said one woman, admiring a necklace fashioned of gold leaves. After viewing the royal riches, guests dined on filet mignon and lobster medallions and danced under the moon in the museum courtyard.
Scoring a coup: The Bowers museum is the first stop on a national tour of the Ur artifacts--on loan from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Among the riches: funerary jewelry worn by Queen Puabi and the famous "Ram in the Thicket" sculpture of lapis and other precious materials.
"For years those in the museum community have admired the treasures of Ur and tried to get [the artifacts] to travel," museum president Peter Keller said. "It's going to all the top museums in the country."
How did the Bowers score the prestigious inaugural showing? "I made a call [to the university] at 6 a.m. saying, 'We'll take it' as soon as I heard" about the tour, Keller said.
Quote: "I love the ethnic diversity of the collections at the Bowers," said museum board member Edward Roski, who attended with wife Gayle. "It's a unique place."
Faces: Anne Shih and Richard T. Howard, gala co-chairpersons; Jim Carona, Bob and Chuck Dreyer, Signe Gallagher-Keller, Donald Kennedy, Mary Ann Lockhart, Lowell C. Martindale Jr., Carol Murray, Jo Ellen Qualls, Janice Smith and Suzi Vaughn.
Bottom line: The gala was expected to net more than $300,000 for the museum.
Mark your calendar: "Treasures From the Royal Tombs of Ur" will be on display through Jan. 3 at the Bowers, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana. Call: (714) 567-3600.