Free Student Museum Methods Workshop at AAA/CASCA, Vancouver

Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia

20 November 2019, 10:30 am – 2:30 pm

Sponsored by the Council for Museum Anthropology with generous funding from the AAA Section Mentoring Grant Program

The Council for Museum Anthropology (CMA) invites current and recently graduated students (undergraduate, masters, and PhD) to apply to a Museum Methods workshop to be held on Wednesday, November 20th from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm at the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, as part of the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Students will be mentored on collaborative curating, exhibition techniques, and anthropological materials research by senior scholars and curators in small group sessions. Mentors include Jennifer Kramer (University of British Columbia), Susan Rowley (University of British Columbia), Jennifer Shannon (University of Colorado, Boulder), Joshua Bell (Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History), Diana Marsh (National Anthropological Archives), Morgan Guerin (Musqueam) and Debra Sparrow (Musqueam). The workshop will also involve an informal networking session during lunch (which will be provided). Transportation from the conference hotel to the Museum of Anthropology and back will be provided.

To apply, current student and recent graduate (2018-2019) members of AAA/CASCA, please submit an application with your contact information (email, phone), biographical details (Name, School, Department, Degree, Specialization), and a brief paragraph on why you are interested in this workshop and what you hope to learn from it (<250 words). Note that you do not need o be a member of CMA to apply. Applications should be sent to by 30 September 2019. Decisions will be communicated by 10 October 2019, and applicants should confirm their attendance within a week of notification.

Lonnie Bunch, the Smithsonian’s first black leader, on the challenge of making it ‘a place that matters’

The Washington Post, August 30, 2019

“He has a reputation as an affable storyteller and a leader with the smarts of a professor and the demeanor of your next door neighbor. So there was little doubt that Lonnie Bunch III would be a new kind of leader for the Smithsonian Institution.

But would he be open to questions? Even this early in his tenure?

Just two months after his historic appointment as the 14th and first African American secretary to lead the 173-year-old institution, Bunch sat down for a wide-ranging interview with The Washington Post. He showed a willingness to discuss tough subjects, including the challenges of making the Smithsonian “a place that matters.”

Bunch has been candid and outspoken, both in his forthcoming memoir and in one of his first interviews as secretary. In his new office in the Smithsonian’s historic administration building — where photos of his wife, two daughters and extended family are displayed alongside an autographed electric guitar (a gift from fellow New Jerseyan Jon Bon Jovi) and a poster of actor and activist Paul Robeson — Bunch offered a peek into his new job, tackling big issues and small with his trademark blend of humor and humility.”

More here.

Columbia University exhibition retells the story of America by foregrounding 'black genius'

The Art Newspaper, September 3, 2019

“Four hundred years after the arrival of the earliest documented Africans in the American colonies, Columbia University is commemorating that moment with a provocative exhibition exploring the central role of African Americans in forging an identity for the US.

Titled 20 and Odd: The 400th Anniversary of 1619, the show quotes from a letter penned by the English planter and merchant John Rolfe, who noted the disembarking of “20. and odd Negroes” from an English pirate ship in August 1619. All of those Africans were sold into bondage onshore in exchange for provisions, noted Rolfe, who is perhaps better known today for his marriage to the Native American Pocahontas.

Ranging from archival documents to contemporary works of art, the exhibition at Columbia’s LeRoy Neiman Gallery “aims to subvert the primacy of the European perspective” in recounting this history, says Kalia Brooks Nelson, the show’s curator.”

More here.

Position Announcement: Associate Curator, American Wing, Metropolitan Museum of Art

About the American Wing

Established in 1924, the American Wing is the only western collecting area of The Met’s seventeen curatorial departments to regularly blend so-called fine and decorative arts in our more than 75 galleries. With a collection of African American, Euro American, Latin American, and Native American art—representing roughly 20,000 objects and ranging primarily from the mid- 17th to early-20th century—the Wing is one of the largest and most comprehensive holdings of North American artistic expression in the world. These collections include paintings, sculpture, drawings, and decorative arts (furniture, textiles, regalia, ceramics, basketry, glass, silver, metalwork, jewelry), as well as historic interiors and architectural fragments, produced by highly trained and self-taught artists, both identified and unrecorded. An active department with a curatorial staff of 13, the Wing regularly programs diverse exhibitions and installations that bring fresh approaches to our wide-ranging material.

General Statement of Duties and Responsibilities:

In Fall 2018, the American Wing debuted the first major display of historical Indigenous American art to be held in its galleries—Art of Native America: The Charles and Valerie Diker Collection. In conjunction with that significant installation of outright and promised gifts as well as long-term loans, the Wing is inaugurating a new Native arts program. This position represents the Museum’s first full-time appointment of a curator for this rich and complex material. The Associate Curator of Native North American Art will lay the groundwork and set the tone for this transformational moment in The Met’s history through thoughtful and creative oversight of the Diker Collection as well as other holdings, including the Ralph T. Coe Collection of historical and modern Indigenous American art, along with more recent acquisitions.

The Associate Curator will be responsible for planning and executing exhibitions, installations, and programs in the American Wing, and occasionally work with colleagues in other Museum departments that also hold Native North American material—including Arms and Armor; Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; Drawings and Prints; Modern and Contemporary; and Musical Instruments. Active collaborations with curatorial colleagues in the American Wing—exploring entangled narratives and themes of cross-cultural encounter and exchange between Native and non-Native individuals and communities—are also key to the position.

While the primary focus of the position will be the ongoing study, presentation, and interpretation of the current holdings and the development of long-term partnerships and reciprocity with Indigenous communities, scholars, artists, and audiences in the region and across the continent, there are also opportunities to further grow the collection of historical material through purchase or gift. Maintaining current and cultivating new relationships with collectors, donors, and descendent communities are also critical aspects of the job. The Associate Curator will work closely with The Met’s NAGPRA specialist and the American Wing’s collections manager to ensure provenance is thoroughly researched and the collection is cared for appropriately and sensitively. 


  • Oversee Native North American art in American Wing’s collection as well as promised gifts housed at Museum

  • Plan and oversee regular rotations of Native arts, including selection of work and writing of interpretive didactics

  • Propose and realize special exhibitions, installations, and accompanying publications—in collaboration with range of Museum colleagues—that highlight Native arts in focus and in dialogue with culturally diverse production for regional, national, and international audiences

  • Develop robust collaborations and partnerships with Indigenous community members

  • Working with American Wing collections manager, coordinate visits with tribal cultural heritage representatives, elders, academics, curators, and artists

  • Research, catalogue, and publish collection of Native arts in print and on Museum website with particular attention to provenance research and incorporation of source-community information

  • Assist with growth of Met’s diverse collections of Indigenous North American art, including recommendations for acquisitions, by working with other curators, collectors, and communities

  • Cultivate potential donors, including for departmental support groups

  • Contribute to educational mission of Museum through public lectures, docent training, and mentoring of interns and fellows; outside teaching opportunities are also possible

  • Respond to public inquires about Native arts at Museum

  • Foster and maintain positive working relationships with departmental colleagues across Museum and institutions in the U.S. and abroad as well as with members of scholarly and source communities, dealers, collectors, and other individuals involved with Met

More here.

Funding Opportunity: 2020 Indigenous Community Research Fellowships at the American Philosophical Society Library & Museum

The American Philosophical Society Library & Museum in Philadelphia, PA invites applications for its 2020 Indigenous Community Research Fellowships. These fellowships support research by Indigenous community members, elders, teachers, knowledge keepers, tribal officials, traditional leaders, museum and archive professionals, scholars, and others, regardless of academic background, seeking to examine materials at the APS Library & Museum in support of Indigenous community-based priorities. More information about this opportunity can be found below.

The fellowship may be used by individuals or used to enable a group of researchers to visit the APS in Philadelphia. Any community whose cultural heritage is represented in the APS Library & Museum’s collections is encouraged to apply. University-based scholars and independent researchers working on projects in collaboration with Native communities are also eligible to apply.

Archivists at the APS’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR) will assist fellowship recipients with research support before and during the research visit. CNAIR focuses on helping Indigenous communities and scholars to discover and utilize the APS collection in innovative ways. The Collections comprise a vast archive of documentary sources (including manuscript materials, audio recordings, and images) related to over 650 Indigenous cultures, predominantly from the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

The deadline for applications is October 15, 2019. Additional details, budget worksheet and guidelines, and instructions on how to apply may be found on the fellowship website:

Call for Participants: Museums of the Vernacular as Porous Sites for Community Collaboration, “Museums Different,” the Second Biennial Conference of the Council for Museum Anthropology  

How do museums with vernacular collections offer opportunities for visitors and communities to collaborate in “making sense” of their exhibitions? How do these spaces establish “connection points” through an array of the potentially mundane? (The “Oh, I have one of those, or my parents did” moments where barriers between museum practice and the visiting community may become productively porous.)

Vernacular museums sometimes emphasize non-heroic exhibition design (rather than a single object indicating an unseen array, a multitude of similar objects are shown). This further offers the museum as a collaborative, “sense-making” space because it is an approachable space.


John Bodinger de Uriarte

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Susquehanna University

Those interested in participating can contact me through my email address:

Conference Opportunity: The Return of Culture Norsk Folkemuseum, Oslo/Norway

The Return of Culture

Norsk Folkemuseum, Oslo/Norway

October 3 – 4 2019

Since 2014, Norsk Folkemuseum/The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History and The Cultural Historical Museum of the University of Oslo have cooperated with six consolidated Sami museums in Norway in the BååstedeProject, with the aim of returning large parts of their Sami collection to the Sami museums. Through a series of joint meetings, we have reached an agreement to transfer more than 1600 objects from the care of Norsk Folkemuseum and Cultural Historical Museum UiO to the Sami museums. The conference aims at reviewing the process of negotiations and selections, with an eye to how those experiences can be of use to other indigenous museums around the world who are working to get their cultural heritage back from colonial or distant museums. There will be a series of presentations by museums professionals at both ends of such processes in several countries.

Presentations will be in English, some discussions may be in Norwegian or Swedish. The conference is open to all interested persons. Conference fee NOK 1200 includes conference material plus two lunches. Additional fee for conference dinner (optional) NOK 900.

If interested, please register at the link below before September 12, 2019.


Norsk Folkemuseum, The Cultural Historical Museum of the University of Oslo, The Norwegian Museums Association, The Sami Museums Association and ICOM Norway, organize the conference.



Travel and Registration Scholarships for  Native Participants and Native Attendees:

“Museums Different,” Second Biennial Conference of the Council for Museum Anthropology

The Council for Museum Anthropology has funding available for travel and/or registration for Native attendees and participants.

Applicants must currently be: 

· A staff member of a tribal museum or historic preservation office, or

· A tribal member working with indigenous collections in a cultural institution, or

· A tribal member enrolled in a museum-related education program

To be eligible, applicants must be from a tribe located or work for a tribal museum or historic preservation office in the following state or province: Alaska, Arizona, British Columbia, California, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Wisconsin, or Washington.

Please note that scholarships will likely not cover the full cost of attending the conference. Applicants are expected to make a contribution to their own expenses. For example, meals not included in the conference program must be paid for outside of the scholarship funds. 

Fellowship Opportunity: Indigenous Community Research Fellowships, American Philosophical Society

The American Philosophical Society (APS)’s Indigenous Community Research Fellowships support research by Indigenous community members, elders, teachers, knowledge keepers, tribal officials, traditional leaders, museum and archive professionals, scholars, and others, regardless of academic background, seeking to examine materials at the APS Library & Museum in support of Indigenous community-based priorities.

The fellowship may be used by individuals or used to enable a group of researchers to visit the APS in Philadelphia. Any community whose cultural heritage is represented in the APS Library & Museum's collections is encouraged to apply. University-based scholars and independent researchers working on projects in collaboration with Native communities are also eligible to apply.  Such applicants are expected to provide letters of support from relevant community members. 

Funding is limited and competitive.  Applications will be evaluated based upon the applicant’s demonstrated need to use APS Library & Museum resources to advance the project.  Funds must be used within one year of receipt of the award.

More here.