2,000-year-old remains heading back to Peru after 6 decades in Texas museum

South Bend Tribune, August 17, 2018

"A 2,000-year-old mummy that has been in the Corpus Christi Science and History Museum's possession for more than 60 years will finally make its way home.

Jillian Becquet, a collections manager for the museum, and Madeline Fontenot, its assistant director of education, began the process of repatriating the ancient mummy to its country of origin two years ago.

The mummy will finally be returned to its native Peru sometime in September, after a year of research through the museum's archive system, decades of scrapbooks, old newspaper articles, and with the help of Driscoll Children's Hospital."

More here

CFP: Re-Imagining the Human: Exploring Best Practice in Object-led work with Ethnographic Collections.

Dates: 28-29 November 2018
Venue: Horniman Museum and Gardens, London, UK.
Conference Website: https://www.horniman.ac.uk/visit/events/reimagining-the-human-a-two-day-conference-in-collaboration-with-icme 

ICME (International Committee for Museums and Collections of Ethnography) and the Horniman Museum and Gardens invite scholars and practitioners to explore innovative practices and theories in object-led work with ethnographic collections. Object-led practice can draw strongly on our ability to employ the senses to re-imagine our place in the world. In-depth engagement with ethnographic objects in particular can promote social interactions and critical reflections on the logics of power and prejudice upon which collections are constituted. 

  • How can ethnographic collections be used to examine or contest established notions of ‘Self’ and ‘Other’?

  • How can dialogical and/or affective engagement with ethnographic objects promote critical reflections on controversial issues (e.g. colonial legacies such as racism, ethnocentrism and primitivism, memory making, gender stereotypes)? 

  • To what extent can imaginative engagement with objects (through poetry, drawing, drama, dance, storytelling, music, etc) help challenge a fixed understanding of cultural identity and promote inter and transcultural dialogue? 

  • How can ethnographic museums use object-led practice to strengthen community collaboration and sense of ownership of collections?

Deadline for submission: 1 October 2018. 

Keynote speaker Dr. Sandra Dudley will open the conference. Her research as a social and material anthropologist transects social anthropology, museum studies, and material culture studies. 

European museums may loan back some works stolen from former colonies

The Washington Post, August 9, 2018

"Nearly every Western European capital has a massive, monolithic museum designed to project an image of national might and instill ordinary citizens with patriotic pride through expansive collections that stretch across time and place. 

In the seats of former colonial powers, these caverns of culture also reflect contested periods of history. They feature items acquired in dubious circumstances or plundered outright. And although the empires have long since collapsed, the objects have remained.

Now, after decades of silence and even obfuscation on the part of many European governments, some of the continent’s leading cultural institutions are beginning to reevaluate colonial-era artifacts and, in some cases, discuss returning them to their countries of origin — under certain terms.

The accelerated push began with French President Emmanuel Macron, who proclaimed while in Burkina Faso in November that France would work toward the “temporary or permanent restitution of African heritage to Africa.”"

Upcoming Conference: Politics of Natural History: How to Decolonize the Natural History Museum?

Natural history museums preserve a considerable, yet often unacknowledged part of the world’s colonial heritage. Their identity, collections, exhibitions and, importantly, much of their research activities are based on objects which underwent multifold translocations from colonized territories to museums in the Global North. Natural history museums took advantage of colonial endeavours and were deeply entangled in the exploitation of the colonies. However, natural objects are often displayed as “of Nature” – and framed within a narrative of Western scientific accomplishments and rationality. The complex histories of acquisition as well as the political context of the discovery and translocation of objects are thus rendered invisible. The workshop takes the growing tension between the entangled history of natural history museums and colonialism on the one hand and the invisibility of those entanglements on the other as a starting point for considerations about decolonization.

The workshop is conceived and organized by the joint project “Dinosaurs in Berlin. Brachiosaurus brancai as an Icon of Politics, Science, and Popular Culture”:
Ina Heumann (PAN – Perspectives on Nature, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin)
Holger Stoecker (Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Mareike Vennen (Institut für Kunstwissenschaften und Historische Urbanistik, Technische Universität Berlin)

Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Further information: https://www.museumfuernaturkunde.berlin/en/forschung/leitthemen/dinosaurs-berlin

Contact & Registration (closing date August 30, 2018): pan@mfn.berlin


Thursday, September 6, 2018

From 9:00 Registration


9:30 Welcome Address
Ina Heumann, Holger Stoecker, Mareike Vennen, Joint research project “Dinosaurs in Berlin”

10:00 Keynote Lecture: Conquest, Care and the Fossil Complex
Ciraj Rassool, University of the Western Cape

11:00 Break

11:30–13:20 SESSION I: Politics of Presentation
Chair: Patricia Rahemipour, Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem, Freie Universität Berlin

11:30 Decolonizing Botanical Collections
Anna Haebich, Curtin University

12:10 Web-like Analogies as a Decolonizing Order in Natural History Display
Fritha Langerman, University of Cape Town

12:50 Comment: Jonathan Fine, Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin –Preußischer Kulturbesitz

13:20 Lunch

15:00–16:50 SESSION II: Politics of Participation
Chair: Sybilla Nikolow, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

15:00 The Natural History Museum and the Pluriverse: Decoloniality at the Periphery
Ayesha Keshani, Goldsmiths, University of London

15:40 Putting Metadata to Work: Modelling Information on Historical Collections of Natural History in Social Justice Contexts
Martha Fleming, British Museum / University of Göttingen, Dominik Hünniger, University of Göttingen

16:20 Comment: Tahani Nadim, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin / Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

16:50 Break

18:30 PANEL DISCUSSION: Koloniales Erbe und Naturkunde

Larissa Förster, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Michael Ohl, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
Ciraj Rassool, University of the Western Cape
Bénédicte Savoy, Technische Universität Berlin
Chair: Andreas Eckert, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

The panel discussion will be held in German, simultaneous translation will be provided by an interpreter via head phones for the English speaking audience. English discussion contributions are welcome.

Friday, September 7, 2018

9:45 Welcome Address
Johannes Vogel, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

10:00-12:00 SESSION III: Politics of Objects: Heritage, Property, Responsibility
Chair: Anja Schwarz, Universität Potsdam

10:00 Colonial Collections at Berlin's Botanical Museum
Katja Kaiser, CeNak – Center of Natural History

10:40 Java Man and the Colonial Legacy of Fossil Collections
Caroline Drieenhuizen, Open University of the Netherlands, Fenneke Sysling, Utrecht University

11:20 Comment: Ina Heumann, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

12:00 Lunch

13:30-15:20 SESSION IV: Museum Practices and Politics
Chair: David Blankenstein, Deutsches Historisches Museum

13:30 Birds from the Colonies at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin: Backgrounds, Relevance and Development
Sylke Frahnert, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

14:10 The Natural History Museum in Nigeria: Dynamics and Impact
Lucky Ugbudian, Federal University Ndufu Alike Ikwo

14:50 Comment: Manuela Bauche, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

15:20 Closing Remarks

CMA Award Announcements

The Council for Museum Anthropology is pleased to announce the winner of this year’s Michael M. Ames Award for Innovative Museum Anthropology!!

Dr. Suzanne Seriff and Dr. Marsha Bol are the 2018 recipients of the Michael M. Ames Award for Innovative Museum Anthropology! They are receiving the Ames Award for their work from 2010-2017 in founding and developing the Gallery of Conscience at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, and for collaborative projects, exhibitions, and documentation created through the Gallery of Conscience. Seriff first guest-curated, then directed the Gallery of Conscience during this time. As the museum’s director from 2009-2015, Bol’s vision was instrumental in creating the Gallery of Conscience and supporting its projects and evolution until her retirement. Their work with the Gallery of Conscience embodies the kind of creative, timely, deeply engaged, and significant projects and interventions that the Michael M. Ames Award was created to recognize. Congratulations!!

All CMA awards will be presented at the CMA reception in Minneapolis during the AAA meetings, on Friday evening, 18 November, at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The reception will be at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. Come and celebrate!

The Council for Museum Anthropology is delighted to announce that Dr. Candace Green will be awarded this year’s CMA Lifetime Achievement Award!!  Here is just a taste of her work: https://anthropology.si.edu/staff/Greene/greenec.html.  Congratulations, Candace!!

All CMA awards will be presented at the CMA reception in Minneapolis during the AAA meetings, on Friday evening, 18 November, at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The reception will be at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. Come and celebrate!

A Museum Held a Show of Protest Art. Then the Artists Protested the Museum.

The New York Times, August 3, 2018

"Just after 11 a.m. on Thursday, a group of about 20 artists, many wearing black despite the searing sun, arrived at the Design Museum in London with an unusual aim: to remove their art from an exhibition.

Their works appeared in “Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18,” a show that traces the recent history of activist art and design, starting with Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster from Barack Obama’s first presidential election campaign, through to a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap.

The artists were upset that the Design Museum had rented its atrium to Leonardo, one of the world’s largest aerospace and defense companies, for a drinks reception in July. Many of the artists in “Hope to Nope,” including Mr. Fairey and Milton Glaser, the designer behind the “I ♥ NY” logo, expressed shock when they learned about the reception, and asked for their works to be removed from the museum. On Thursday, the group arrived to check that this had happened, or to do it themselves if necessary."

More here. 

Yupik artifacts returning to Alaska for museum opening

MyPlainView, August 3, 2018

The community of Quinhagak is awaiting the return of about 60,000 artifacts unearthed from a nearby ancient village and sent to Scotland.

Quinhagak is hoping the Yupik artifacts will make it to the western Alaska village in time for a museum opening next week, KYUK-AM reported Thursday .

The items were sent to be cleaned and preserved at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Archaeologists began excavating the ancient village of Nunalleq nearly a decade ago after permafrost started melting, revealing the items.

"We were hoping that the artifacts will be back by then, and then we can celebrate the return," said archaeologist Rick Knecht, dig site manager of Nunalleq.

The Qanirtuuq Native Village Corporation converted a former school into lab for the archaeological site last summer, allowing the items to be locally preserved. The lab will also serve as a cultural center and museum, which is opening next week.

"It is a tough task, but I, for the sake of our community, want this museum to be here," Qanirtuuq President Warren Jones said. "These artifacts were found here on our land, they will be here at Quinhagak and Qanirtuuq will be the owner."

Residents started finding the artifacts along the shore near Quinhagak in 2009. Jones then reached out to Knecht to investigate the site, leading to a massive archaeological dig. Excavators and residents have since raced to save as much as they can before the site is eventually swept away.

More here

Due Next Week! CMA & NASA student travel award applications due Aug. 15 and 17

Attention students, teachers, and mentors! There are two awards for student travel to this year's AAA due next week.

1) Our CMA Student Travel Award, due August 15, 2018

2) The National Association of Student Anthropologists (NASA) Carrie Hunter-Tate Award, due August 17, 2018

Details below and attached!

CMA Student Travel Award, due August 15, 2018

The CMA Student Travel Awards are designed to support graduate student travel to the annual AAA meeting to present papers and/or posters. Students and recent graduate degree recipients (those who have defended within the year of the award) are eligible to apply. Each year, CMA will award two prizes of $500 each.

Application packets (maximum 5 pages) must include: a brief letter indicating the applicant’s student status and explaining how this project reflects the student’s graduate work; a copy of the abstract for the proposed paper or poster (and for the session in which they will be presenting, if known); and a letter of endorsement from an academic advisor at the student’s most recent institution of study.

Evaluation Criteria: 1) Creativity: Is the paper or poster a unique and novel contribution to museum anthropology? 2) Commitment: Does the student demonstrate a commitment to the field of museum anthropology 3) Impact: Does the paper or poster have the potential to develop into a work that could more broadly impact the field of museum anthropology?

Student Travel Award recipients will be presented with a check for $500 and a certificate of the award.

NASA Carrie Hunter-Tate Award, due August 17, 2018

2018 Carrie Hunter-Tate Award The National Association of Student Anthropologists (NASA) warmly invites students to submit an application for the 2018 Carrie Hunter-Tate Award. The award honors the memory of Carrie HunterTate, a former officer who energetically devoted her time and talents to NASA until her untimely passing in 1995. To commemorate the spirit she dedicated to anthropology as a profession, NASA established the Carrie Hunter-Tate Award to honor student anthropologists who demonstrate a similar level of enthusiasm, passion, and service to anthropology.

The Carrie Hunter-Tate Award offers conference travel support to one student member attending the 117th meeting of the American Anthropological Association and is intended to expand the reach of the honoree’s research. The award will provide up to $500 for travel expenses associated with attending the annual meeting in the form of a reimbursement and will also reimburse basic annual meeting registration fees. 

All anthropology students (including international students) who are current members of NASA excluding currently elected or appointed NASA Officers are eligible to apply. Students who are not NASA members may apply for the Carrie Hunter-Tate Award but must join NASA prior to receiving the award if selected. To apply, all applicants must be nominated and must submit a complete application that consists of (1) transcripts from all universities attended (unofficial copies will be accepted); (2) a one to three page statement explaining what they believe to be the significance of anthropology and the direction of the field along with why they are qualified to receive the award; and (3) the following information: (a) full legal name; (b) university and year; (c) research interests; and (d) geographical area(s) of interest. 

Graduate student applicants must additionally submit a recent CV as part of their application. Students may be nominated by any current AAA Student Section Representative, by any current NASA member, or by any current AAA student member. Applicants may self-nominate if they are current AAA student members. 

The judgement criteria for the Carrie Hunter-Tate Award will be split equally between academic and professional achievements. Examples of academic achievements include – but are not limited to – class performance, receipt of academic scholarships and awards, publications and presentations, and scholarly research. Examples of professional achievement include – but are not limited to – service within professional organizations or departments, leadership positions within student anthropological groups, and community service in which anthropological issues are brought to the attention of the public. 

All application materials must be submitted via email to students.anthropology@gmail.com by Friday, August 17, 2018 11:59PM EST. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applicants will be notified by Friday, October 19, 2018.

For queries and further information, please contact the 2018 Awards Committee Chair (Peter Lee) at students.anthropology@gmail.com


Diana E. Marsh

Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropological Archives

National Anthropological Archives

Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Institution

w (301) 238-1190 e marshd@si.edu

Minneapolis Institute of Art to Stage Major Survey of Native Women Artists

Art News, July 24, 2018

"The Minneapolis Institute of Art is planning to stage “Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists,” which the museum is billing as the first major survey devoted to its subject. Organized by Jill Ahlberg Yohe, an associate curator in the museum’s Native American art department, and Teri Greeves, an independent curator who is a member of the Kiowa Nation, the exhibition is slated to open in June 2019.

“Hearts of Our People” has been years in the making and was assembled in collaboration with a committee of 22 Native and non-Native scholars from around North America. More than 115 objects will be included in the show, which is to include such artists as Marie Watt, Jamie Okuma, Rose B. Simpson, DY Begay, and Anita Fields, among others. Organized under three themes (“Legacy,” “Relationships,” and “Power”), the show spans hundreds of years of history, from ancient times to the present day, in an attempt to offer visibility to female creators who have long been unstudied by mainstream arts institutions. The exhibition follows on the heels of traveling exhibitions about black women artists during the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, and Latinx and Latin American women during the same era."

More here

Native American tribes clash with University of California over bones of their ancestors

VC Star, July 22, 2018

"As tribal archaeologist for the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, Myra Masiel uses her UC Berkeley anthropology training daily. Her mission: track down skeletons of Native Californians extracted from gravesites over the last two centuries and shipped off to museums around the world, and return them to the tribe’s ancestral land near Temecula so they can be reburied with dignity.

But lately that quest has put Masiel at odds with her alma mater.

The remains of thousands of Native Americans, along with possessions such as beads and fishhooks buried with them, now sit in drawers and boxes at University of California museums. Federal and state laws require their return to tribes able to prove a connection to them. Some tribes accuse university officials of delaying so professors can continue to study the bones, and are pushing state legislation to force UC to speed its efforts."

More here

National Association of Student Anthropologists 2018 Carrie Hunter-Tate Award

NASA has extended the deadline for the Carrie Hunter-Tate Award to August 17, 2018 11:59PM EST. The award honors Carrie Hunter-Tate, a former NASA officer, by offering conference travel support to one student member attending the annual meeting. The award will provide up to $500 for travel expenses associated with attending the annual meeting and will also reimburse basic annual meeting registration fees. Additional details on the award and the application process can be found in the attached document and on our website: https://studentanthropologists.org/the-carrie-hunter-tate-award/.