The Field Museum's Native North American Hall starts to ask who it represents

Josh Rios, The Chicago Reader, December 7, 2018

“The story of any North American natural history museum would also have to be, at least partially, a story about Native North Americans—about their physical removal from the land and cultural removal from a central position in our various national histories and narratives. Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History—in particular, the museum's Native North American Hall—is finding new ways to tell some of these stories.

Located just off the museum's southern entrance and adjacent to the gift shop, the hall features a sizable set of glass-fronted display cases and vitrines dedicated to exhibiting the cultural artifacts of numerous Native American peoples spanning from northern Mexico to Canada. The vitrines, reminiscent of department store window displays, are built into the very architecture of the space and span from floor to ceiling. Like the objects in any shop window, the hall's artifacts are meticulously arranged to create a desired effect. The casual viewer peruses the objects on display, each artifact carefully spaced and arranged on the wall like a diagram. Seeing the objects isolated and behind thick glass creates a false sense in the viewer that knowledge is being gained through the simple act of looking. Given the scant descriptions of the objects provided, whatever knowledge may be grasped is likely insubstantial, and sits at the level of perception. In addition to some variously placed smaller displays, there are several large free-floating vitrines in the space, built in a similar manner, populated by faceless mannequins outfitted in the indigenous clothing of various nations. The display walls are painted an institutional shade of pale green. In disrepair, with some artifacts missing or showing signs of damage, the Native North American Hall appears to have been abandoned by the museum, which is tantamount to an abandonment of the museum's imperative to educate the public, to provide up-to-date information on developing ideas regarding the history and science of the objects it stewards, and to enunciate new stories those objects might tell.”

More here.

Museum of Black Civilisations aims to 'decolonise knowledge'

Al Jazeera, December 5, 2018

“In April 1966, Senegal's first president and a poet, Leopold Sedar Senghor ascended the steps of the National Assembly in Dakar to declare his country the temporary capital of Black Civilisation at the launch of the World Festival of Black Arts.

In the following weeks, African luminaries such as Nelson Mandela and writer Wole Soyinka would converge on the Senegalese capital, as would others from the wider African diaspora: Jazz great Duke Ellington, the Martiniquan poet Aime Cesaire, Barbadian novelist George Lamming and American writers Langston Hughes and Amiri Baraka.

Dakar would briefly play host to some of the leading black movements of the day. African liberation, the Harlem Renaissance, Jazz, and the negritude movement, of which Senghor was also a leading figure, were represented. Despite their differences, they shared an optimism that people of African descent, wherever they were, would define their own futures.”

More here.

Conference Opportunity: Collections in Circulation, The Mobile Museum Project Conference

Collections in Circulation: Conference, May 9-10, 2019
Collections in Circulation: Mobile Museum Conference, 9-10 May 2019

 We are pleased to announce that registration has opened for this Conference, to be held at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on Thursday 9th and Friday 10th May 2019.

The conference will bring together scholars from the UK and overseas with a shared interest in the mobility of museum collections, past and present. Their papers will address various aspects of the history of the circulation of objects and their re-mobilisation in the context of object exchange, educational projects and community engagement. 

Confirmed speakers include Claudia Augustat, Paul Basu, Joshua Bell, Martha Fleming, Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, Luciana Martins, Wayne Modest, Catherine Nichols, Jude Philp, Daniel Simpson, Alice Stevenson and members of the Mobile Museum project team.

This conference is organised by the Mobile Museum project, a collaboration between Royal Holloway, University of London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


Twitter: @KewMobileMuseum #KewMobileMuseum

More here.

Whitney Museum Director Pens Letter After Vice Chair’s Relationship to Weapons Manufacturer Is Publicized

Hyperallergic, December 2, 2018

“On November 25, at the US–Mexico border between Tijuana and San Diego, United States Customs and Border Protection officers released tear gas and smoke grenade on hundreds of Central American asylum seekers hoping to cross the San Ysidro Port of Entry into California. Numerous on-site reporters posted photographs of the chemical weapon canisters branded “Safariland,” a corporation owned by businessman and weapons industry figure, Warren B. Kanders.

On November 27, Hyperallergic reported that Kanders sits on the board of the Whitney as a vice chairman and is a “significant contributor” in the recent Whitney Andy Warhol exhibition, From A to B and Back Again. In the following days, over 100 Whitney staffers signed a letter to museum administration requesting “the development and distribution of a clear policy around Trustee participation” and “a public statement from the Whitney in response to the Hyperallergic article.”

Today, December 3, Adam Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, released a statement addressed to museum staff and trustees, decrying the insidiousness of nationalism, racism, xenophobia, and homophobia, while asserting the museum “cannot right all the ills of an unjust world, nor is that its role.” He closes his letter with an impending promise to meet with staff and trustees in the upcoming days.”

More here.

Position Announcement: Curator of Ethnography, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is seeking a Curator of Ethnography. This is a full-time, exempt position, responsible for the continued development and use of Anthropology’s ethnographic collections. We seek an energetic individual who will promote the accessibility of these collections through the Museum’s education programs, exhibits and public outreach.

Located in the coastal town of Santa Barbara, renowned for its Mediterranean climate, the Museum was founded over 100 years ago. It has a long-established, strong tradition in collection-based research with many of its collections being ranked both nationally and internationally. 

The Museum’s ethnographic collection encompasses material culture from much of Western North America. Holdings include more than 1000 baskets, about 500 textiles, 300 leather items, 250 examples of pottery, 250 wooden objects, and 500 artifacts of other types. Research and collections especially emphasize Chumash and other California Indian groups. The Museum currently holds 50 Chumash baskets, some dating from the late 18th century, the largest number in any institution. The curators consult with our California Indian Advisory Council on exhibits, public programs, and curation of cultural heritage materials.

Minimum requirements include an advanced degree in Anthropology or related field with expertise in Ethnography, and multi-year experience with museum collections and management techniques. Familiarity with collections database software and grant writing is desirable. The candidate should be familiar with Native American cultures, a good communicator, able to converse with the public, and pursue scholarly research.

Salary DOE. Please visit our website to review a detailed job description and apply at When applying please upload (1) letter of interest; (2) current CV with list of publications in one PDF; include (3) names of three references 

Review of applications starts November 15, 2018, until filled. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Segment on "Museums: Repatriation, and Ownership" on The Agenda with Steve Paikin

CMA President-Elect Cara Krmpotich discusses repatriation and ownership with Lucy Bell and Gail Lord on “The Agenda with Steve Paikin”

Who owns art, antiquities and cultural artifacts, from the Elgin Marbles to the cultural artifacts of Canada's First Nations? It's a question museums and nations were left to struggle with after colonial powers stepped in. And, if the world's great museums were emptied of these treasures, could the story of civilization still be told to millions around the world?

Fellowship Opportunity: American Philosophical Society Library, Philadelphia, PA/USA

The American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia invites applications for long and short-term research fellowships for scholars working in all fields, and especially those working on projects pertaining to the history of science, technology, and medicine; early American history; anthropology and linguistics; and Native American and Indigenous Studies.

The Library houses over 13 million manuscripts, 350,000 volumes of printed materials, thousands of maps and prints, and more than a thousand hours of audio recordings of Native American languages. Collections continue to grow and are renowned for their depth and interdisciplinary strengths in diverse fields, including (but not necessarily limited to): Early American History and Culture to 1840 • Atlantic History • Intellectual History • Travel, Exploration and Expeditions • History of Science, Technology and Medicine • History of Biochemistry, Physiology and Biophysics including 20th-Century Medical Research • History of Eugenics and Genetics • History of Physics, especially Quantum Physics • History of Natural History in the 18th and 19th Centuries • Anthropology, particularly Native American History, Culture and Languages • Caribbean and Slavery Studies. The Library does not hold materials on philosophy in the modern sense.

Comprehensive, searchable guides and finding aids to our collections are available online at

Applications are now open for the following positions. Applicants whose research subjects overlap any other APS Library fellowship programs may also submit applications to other pertinent programs, though only one fellowship can be awarded to an individual. The strongest applications will demonstrate a clear need to consult materials housed in the APS Library and will list which collections will be used during the fellowship term.

 See individual fellowship descriptions below for more information and instructions on how to apply.

The deadline for all long-term fellowship opportunities is Friday, February 1, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

The deadline for all short-term fellowship opportunities (including Digital Knowledge Sharing and Digital Humanities Fellowships) is Friday, March 1, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

For a complete listing of all APS grant and fellowship opportunities, visit

 Long-Term Predoctoral Fellowships 

Applications for all long-term fellowship opportunities may be submitted no later than Friday, February 1, 2019 at 11:59pm EST.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI) Predoctoral Fellowship

This 12-month fellowship is intended for advanced Ph.D. students working toward the completion of the dissertation

  • Applicants will receive a stipend of $25,000, plus travel and research funds, to support twelve months of work in Native American and Indigenous Studies or allied fields.

  • Applications are open to scholars in all related fields and all periods of time, although preference will be given to those who have experience working with Native communities.

  • The successful applicant will be based at the Library’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) (, which aims to promote greater collaboration between scholars, archives, and indigenous communities.

To apply, please submit materials to

Friends of the American Philosophical Society Predoctoral Fellowship in Early American History (to 1840)

  • This 12-month fellowship is intended for advanced Ph.D. students working toward the completion of the dissertation.

  • Applicants will receive a stipend of $25,000 to support twelve months of work on topics pertaining to early American history (to 1840).

  • The successful applicant will receive an appointment as a Research Associate at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, which will provide library and computer privileges at the University of Pennsylvania to those who agree to participate regularly in the McNeil Center’s seminars and other programming (

To apply, please submit materials to

Predoctoral Fellowships in the History of Science

These 12-month fellowships are intended for advanced Ph.D. students working toward the completion of the dissertation.

  • Applicants will receive a stipend of $25,000, plus research and travel funds, to support twelve months of work on topics pertaining to the history of science, broadly defined.

  • Applicants’ research must pertain to topics in the history of science or related fields.

  • The successful applicant will be affiliated with the Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (

To apply, please submit materials to

Short-Term Fellowships

Applications for all short-term fellowship opportunities may be submitted no later than Friday, March 1, 2019 at 11:59pm EST.

Library Resident Short-Term Research Fellowship

The APS’s short-term fellowships provide 1- to 3 months of support for researchers in residence who are using Library collections. Fellowships are open to researchers working in all fields who show a demonstrated need to use the Library’s collections for their project.

A stipend of $3,000 per month is awarded to all successful applicants for a minimum of one month and a maximum of three months. Approximately 25-30 short-term fellowships are awarded each year. 

Applicants may be:

  • Holders of the Ph.D. or its equivalent

  • Ph.D. candidates who have passed their preliminary examinations and are working on their dissertation research

  • Degreed independent scholars (without current academic affiliation)

  • Applicants may be U.S. citizens or foreign nationals. Candidates who live 75 or more miles from Philadelphia receive some preference.

To apply, please submit materials to

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI) Digital Knowledge Sharing Fellowship

These fellowships complement the collaborative work undertaken by the Library’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) to support university- and community-based scholars working on digital projects that connect archives and Indigenous communities.

  • DKS fellowships are open to scholars at all stages of their careers, especially Native American scholars in training, tribal college and university faculty members, and other scholars working closely with Native communities.

  • Successful applicants will receive a stipend of $3,000 plus the costs associated with visiting the APS in Philadelphia to attend a summer workshop with other DKS fellows. 

  • Applicants may use materials hosted at the APS Library as well as those held at other archives and libraries.

  • These funding opportunities are supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Scholars Initiative (NASI). Selected fellows will be associated with the APS’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) (

To apply, please submit materials to

Digital Humanities Fellowship

These one-month fellowships are open to scholars at all stages of their careers, including graduate students, who are developing digital projects that: 1) utilize the APS’s Library holdings to advance a digital component of an independent research project, or, 2) seek to apply existing tools and expertise to digital projects developed in collaboration with the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship.

  • Successful applicants will receive a stipend of $3,000 per month upon arrival at the APS Library

  • Possible collaborative projects will focus on the Center’s Open Data Initiative and would explore data sets created from either a) the Benjamin Franklin postal records kept during his tenure as Postmaster of Colonial Philadelphia, 1748-1752, or b) datasets created from a stout volume of indenture records for servants and redemptioners coming through the port of Philadelphia during the 1770s. Applicants interested in working on these project need not have special expertise in early American history.

To apply, please submit materials to

Applicants: Use Interfolio's help desk for any issues pertaining to the online application process.

Contact regarding the program and the American Philosophical Society: 

Survey: Association of Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums

From The Association of Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums:

***Deadline to respond to the survey is FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7.  All Native communities need to respond to this 10-minute survey. Help us help you.***

Preliminary responses to the Cultural Facilities in Native Communities:  Present & Future Survey are revealing a serious need for new or improved facilities.  To date, Native communities are reporting that only 15% of archival facilities are adequate, followed by 30% for libraries, 26% for museums, and 18% for cultural centers. 

Forty-nine percent of reporting communities indicate they need new facilities but have not started the process, 13% are in the planning process but have not broken ground, and 8% have new facilities under construction.

Once the survey closes, updated results will be included in a Needs Assessment Report, along with recommended actions.

All Native communities should be heard. If you are receiving this survey and do not represent a Native community, please share it with those you know and encourage their participation.

Responses are due by Friday, December 7, 2018. TAKE THE SURVEY

Thank you for your continued support.

Call for Papers: 28th Annual Milton Plesur Graduate History Conference, University at Buffalo

The Graduate History Association (GHA) of the University at Buffalo would like to place a call for papers for the 28th Annual Milton Plesur Graduate History Conference, to be held on March 8-9, 2019. Co-sponsored by the History Department, this conference enables graduate students
from across North America to share current research with fellow students and faculty members
from a variety of fields, including History, Political Science, Anthropology, Classics, English,
Comparative Literature, American Studies, Caribbean Studies, Transnational Studies,
Geography, Gender Studies, Disability Studies, Religious Studies, and Urban Studies.

We seek original papers that analyze a wide range of historical topics, time periods, and places,
drawing from a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. For the 28th Annual
Plesur Conference, we are especially seeking research that addresses the theme of
“(Im)material Culture: Identity and Agency in Commonplace Objects.” Broadly interpreted, this
theme seeks to bring historical perspective to issues related to the study of material culture and the roles objects play in history. Work that employs multi-disciplinary approaches is especially encouraged. As such, we will be accepting papers on a wide range of themes including but not limited to:

-Fashion and Clothing in History
-Use of Objects in Religion
-Disability Studies
-Architecture and Urban Planning
-Medicine, Science, and Technology

-Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology
-Print Culture in History
-Museum Studies
-Popular Culture and Consumerism
-Economics, Trade, and Commerce

Proposal Instructions
Please send your proposal, consisting of a 250-word abstract (including main argument and
methodology), CV, school or other affiliation, and contact information to the drop box at . Please contact
Victoria Nachreiner at if you have any questions.

The deadline for paper proposals is January 15.

Accepted proposals will be notified by email in early February.
Non-UB students who have papers accepted by the program committee will be eligible to
request reimbursement for registration and some travel expenses when registering for the

Contact Info:  Victoria Nachreiner (University at Buffalo)

More here.

Call for Presenters: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Pacific Division

Call for Presenters from Alan L. Bain (Research Associate, National Anthropological Archives & Retired Archivist, Smithsonian Institution Archives)

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, Pacific Division, is meeting on the campus of Southern Oregon University, Ashland, June 18-21, 2019.  I am putting together two programs, (1) U. S. and world’s fairs, and (2) Vietnam.

The members of AAAS-PD are mostly physical and biological scientists.  Since 2003, I have developed programs regarding cultural anthropology and colonial and World War II anthropology, focusing on East and Southeast Asia; and, U. S. and world’s fairs, focusing on racism and ethnic problems in the U. S.,  Asian and Asian American, Native American, and museum and museum curators participation at the fairs.

 I am inviting faculty and graduate students to give a presentation regarding any aspect of the fairs that were held on the West Coast (Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, 1905, Portland; Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition, Seattle, 1909; Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915, San Francisco; and the Panama-California Exposition, 1915-1916, San Diego). Presenters may also contrast the attitudes at the fairs, the presenters, fair-goers, and businessmen, with racial and ethnic attitudes held in the United States at the time of the fair; and topics regarding Vietnam, Vietnam and United States relations, and Vietnamese American issues (including Asian and Asian American women, health and welfare).  

To date, two speakers will discuss the attitude of United States and Chinese Americans in 1905, and why there was no Asian American participation at the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition.

I have no travel funds for these programs.  If  graduate students give presentations I will try and have the session held early in the conference so that their presentations may be reviewed and placed in competition for available awards. Otherwise, they would also have to give an earlier special presentation before reviewers.

Deadline: Tuesday, December 18th.

If anyone is interested in participating I need to receive one or two paragraphs regarding the talk along with one paragraph of context so that I can meld the presentations into a single abstract for review and approval by AAAS-PD. The paragraphs may be modified at a later date. In addition, I need the name of the presenter, title of the paper, presenter’s title (examples: research associate, Ph.D. candidate, lecturer, professor), department, institution, and, email address.