2016 Council for Museum Anthropology Award Recipients

The CMA Awards committee are pleased to share the recipients for the Student Travel, Ames, and Distinguished Service awards to be presented at the 2016 AAA Annual Meeting. 

Student Travel Awards: 
(1) Sowparnika Balaswaminathan
PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology
UC San Diego
Presentation: Contesting Tradition: What is Visible and Valuable through Iconic Replication

(2) AK de Morais
PhD candidate in the History of Consciousness
University of California, Santa Cruz
Presentation: Contingent Collection and Uncertain Objects: Thinking through the Smithsonian-Universal African Expedition

Ames Award:
The CMA awards committee chose the exhibit c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city, to be this year’s recipient of the Michael M. Ames Award for Innovative Museum Anthropology. The exhibit, spanning three different venues, represents an ambitious, multi-sited, truly collaborative effort that brings attention to the impacts of on-going acts of settler colonialism for Native and non-Native peoples alike. In 2012, members of the Musqueam community, Treaty Lands and Resource offices, public educators, and members of the museum community in British Columbia recognized an opportunity to innovatively address the past through an approach centered on current events in Vancouver. A vigil lasting 200 days, held by Musqueam community members and other First Nations peoples gathered at a burial site in downtown Vancouver and scheduled for development, prompted this collaborative exhibit.
The CMA awards committee was impressed with the ability of three entities, the Museum of Anthropology (MOA), the Musqueam Cultural Education Resource Center (MCERC), and the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) to coordinate such a creative exhibit and utilize innovative technologies that support and highlight Indigenous ways of sharing knowledge. For example, an interactive table allowed visitors to select replica archaeological objects and place them on the table, thereby activating options for visitors to listen to stories, songs, and view video clips shared by Indigenous community members and project collaborators.
Currently, Indigenous members of over 230 tribes are gathering at Standing Rock Sioux Nation to protect water sources from being harmed by projects for the so-called purpose of “development.” Issues such as this are of the utmost importance for Indigenous communities all over the Americas; as the exhibit c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city suggests, these events can and should be part of museum exhibits too. In 2001, Michael Ames co-founded the UBC-Musqueam collaborations with Leona Sparrow, one of the exhibit planners of c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city; in recognition of the spirit of Michael Ames’s work and vision for museum anthropology and the remarkable collaborations that make this exhibit possible, the CMA awards committee is pleased to bestow the Ames Award for Innovative Museum Anthropology to all those involved in c̓əsnaʔəm: the city before the city.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr. Adrienne L. Kaeppler
From the nomination letter: "Working in the Pacific, Dr. Kaeppler pioneered the combination of collections based research and careful provenance research with field collaborations with communities. Having worked with and in museums - notably the Bishop Museum and Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History (1984 - present) - her two hundred articles and edited/co- authored and single authored books focus on the cultures of the Pacific and the interrelationships between social structure, material culture and the arts, especially dance, music, and the visual arts. This breadth and depth of her publications is matched by an equally expansive list of important exhibitions. Since receiving her PhD in 1967 from the University of Hawaii she has continued to be a vital force in the field of museum anthropology. Nurturing many generations of scholars from the Pacific and other regions, she has received many awards for her work: the Silver Jubilee Anniversary Medal given by the King of Tonga for contributions to Tongan culture, the 2012 Kalani Ali`i Award from Aha Hipu`u (Four Hawaiian Royal Societies) for Lifetime Achievements in the Study of and Contributions to Hawaiian Culture, and was named the 2011 Smithsonian Secretary’s Distinguished Lecturer. She is past president of the World Dance Alliance of the Americas, has held various positions in the Society for Ethnomusicology, is a fellow of the American Anthropological Association, and an advisor to UNESCO on Intangible World Heritage. 
"Her most recent scholarship focuses on Pacific Island barkcloth and exemplifies her continued relevance as a scholar and pioneer. For this work she has brought together a remarkable range of museum research methods in this project. One is replicative technology, which involved gathering and cultivation of the mamaki plant purportedly once used in barkcloth, then harvesting and processing it with assistance of Pacific Island tapa- makers who were in-residence at the Smithsonian. Another method has been working with scientists to conduct high tech analysis of barkcloth using SEM, DNA, and other sophisticated laboratory methods.”

Thank you — I know we all look forward to hearing from the emerging scholars, celebrating the innovative work of the c̓əsnaʔəm partners, and recognizing Dr. Kaeppler’s extraordinary contributions to museum anthropology.