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Delays may push back arival of Vatican art exhibit; Haragan still hopeful for 2002 date
By KARA ALTENBAUMER Avalanche-Journal

A collection of Vatican artifacts may not make it to Lubbock as soon as once expected, said Texas Tech President Donald Haragan, who returned last week from a trip to Rome to discuss details of the rare exhibit.

"I'm not ready to say it can't happen in (March 2002), but if we're going to get it by then, things are going to have to move very fast," he said Wednesday. "I think we're looking at a different time line."

The exhibit, which was announced at the beginning of the year, will showcase artifacts rarely seen outside the Vatican Museum. Originally, it was slated to arrive a little more than two years from now.

Haragan did not indicate when the exhibit will make it to Lubbock.

He and other local representatives, including Tech Chancellor John Montford and the Rev. Malcolm Neyland, judicial vicar of the Tribunal Diocese of Lubbock, met with the director of the Vatican Museum last week. Haragan said the group learned their proposal to get the artifacts here needs to be more specific, particularly in terms of exact dates.

"We're back to square one as far as a proposal," he said. "He wants a facilities report from the museum, reports of the traveling exhibits. After he has received a specific proposal, we're thinking about inviting him to Lubbock. I think it was a good meeting."

Neyland said he's still "hanging on to" the March date. The Vatican will be ready to send the artifacts, it's just that Tech wants to "make sure everything is perfect for a beautiful exhibit," he said.

"The question is can (Lubbock) get all the details ... taken care of to get it to the Texas Tech Museum," Neyland. "It's the awesomeness of 'Can we do it?"'

Besides, he said, the point is not when the exhibit comes, but simply getting it here.

The exhibit, which is expected to stay for a few months at the Texas Tech Museum, is being lauded as the first Vatican collection being loaned to a single city. No exhibit has ever been loaned to a small, isolated market, Neyland has said. Rare exhibits generally travel among several large cities. This exhibit will return to Rome after its Lubbock visit.

Officials have said no admission will be charged for the exhibit, which is expected to draw visitors from around the nation.

Montford did not return calls on Wednesday regarding the exhibit.

The exhibit has ended
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