The Journal

MUAN 38.1 "Continued Conversations" Web-Exclusive Content: James Dixon Interview Part 1

In Musuem Anthropology 38.1, co-editors Maxine McBrinn and Tony Chavarria conducted interviews with museum anthropologists working within the university setting. This web-exclusive content adds to their collection of interviews published in the journal. 

This interview is with Dr. James Dixon, Director, Maxwell Museum of Anthropology and Professor of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This Part 1 of 2

1. Describe your job.
As director of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology and Professor of Anthropology at University of New Mexico (UNM) I provide administrative leadership for the Museum.  I am responsible for the management of all aspects of the Museum’s programs, resources and services including fiscal management and personnel.  In my role as professor I also serve on a variety of academic committees, teach courses, mentor graduate students, conduct research, and publish.

2. How does being associated with a university assist your job and institution?
One of the great benefits of being at a university is interaction with students, particularly graduate students. They are a great asset to the Museum and its programs.  Their enthusiasm and talent improves the quality of what we do.

3. Does being associated with a university add challenges to your job?
Yes, administrating a museum within a state university system is challenging.  University administrators are not familiar with museums.  Many do not understand their relevance to the university mission.  Because they are familiar only with methods that measure success based on classroom instruction and enrollment statistics, it is takes constant effort to educate them to ensure they understand the essential role of museums in institutions of higher education. 

4. How do university students interact with the museum?

The Museum provides unique educational opportunities in terms of experiential learning in both anthropology and museum studies.  Faculty and staff facilitate these learning opportunities and as a result work closely with many students on a daily basis. Museum and non-museum faculty teach formal classes, offer practica, and provide independent study opportunities for a wide variety of students.  Students also interact by participating in museum programs, events, and exhibitions.

MUAN 38.1 "Continued Conversations" Web-Exclusive Content: Jill Minar Interview Part 2

In Musuem Anthropology 38.1, co-editors Maxine McBrinn and Tony Chavarria conducted interviews with museum anthropologists working within the university setting. This web-exclusive content adds to the collection of interviews published in the journal. 

This interview is with Dr. Jill Minar, Instructor of Anthropology/Archaeology in the Anthropology, Economics, and Geography Department, Social Sciences Division at Fresno City College in Fresno, California. This is Part 2 of 2. 

5. Do you think students take full advantage of having museums on campus?  
No.  On our campus most students are not aware of the museums on campus and so do not frequent them.  In trying to resolve this issue, we had a mural painted on the outside of our building space, added two large signs, one on the campus mall side of our building and one on the museum wall.  Since then we have had an increase in the visitors to the museum.  

6. Does the university have a Museum Studies program? If so, how does that influence your answers to the above?
No, we do not have a Museum Studies program.  Fresno City College has tried to have some museum courses (in anthropology and art) as we have several museums/galleries on campus.  The need to have very small class sizes (low interest combined with hands-on instruction) made this impossible in these days of strict budgets.  

7. Do you reach out to students outside the university?
Fresno City College has an active outreach program to the school districts in Fresno and the surrounding communities, working to bring young people from preschool through high school to the college campus.  We are in a community that suffers from high dropout rates in high school, families who have no experience with college education, and high poverty levels.  The goal of the outreach program is to give young people a chance to see what a college is like and to become acquainted with the campus with the hope that they will see a college education as part of their future.  As part of this outreach, various departments on campus provide tours to the visiting students.  The Museum of Anthropology participates in this outreach by providing tours of the museum to visiting school groups throughout the school year.  Currently, given our lack of paid staff and low budget, these school group tours already stretch our ability to meet the need and so no further outreach is done by the museum to the community on a regular basis.  The museum has held open house events, workshops, and tours for special occasions for which we do advertise to the greater Fresno area.  We have been featured in the local paper and had a television program broadcast from the museum in the past few years.

8. What do you see in the future for university associated museums?

In my opinion, there is a very strong and vibrant future for university/college associated museums especially if museums focus on engaging students in the functioning of the museum.  Important connections can be made when students are able see their academic studies in action and where they can actually participate in making that happen. Even given all the administrative headaches, I see that our museum provides something that is lacking in other areas of our campus: it provide a place where students connect with each other and with faculty.  They are engaged in, are connected to and are part of, a community.  According to our campus basic skills faculty, these are important to student success.  On the museum side, having a steady stream of engaged students who want to work or volunteer keeps things lively.  In recent years when budgets were slashed, our student docents pitched in and helped to keep the museum open many more hours than would have been possible otherwise.  They had learned the value of their contribution to our campus community and gave of their time and talents to keep it going.  I expect that these students will carry their passion for museums on into the places where they end up living and working after college – they represent the next generation of museum advocates in our communities. 

MUAN 38.1 "Continued Conversations" Web-Exclusive Content: Jill Minar Interview Part 1

In Musuem Anthropology 38.1, co-editors Maxine McBrinn and Tony Chavarria conducted interviews with museum anthropologists working within the university setting. This web-exclusive content adds to their collection of interviews published in the journal. 

This interview is with Dr. Jill Minar, Instructor of Anthropology/Archaeology in the Anthropology, Economics, and Geography Department, Social Sciences Division at Fresno City College in Fresno, California. This Part 1 of 2

1. Describe your job.
I am primarily a community college instructor of anthropology.  At our college, the normal teaching load is five classes per semester.  Because I am also responsible for our small museum and archaeological curation facility/archives, I am relieved of one class per semester. 

2. How does being associated with a university assist your job and institution? 
Mission – associated with education – having a built in community of learners every semester. Facility bills are paid by the college:  we don’t have an electric, water, or trash bill for example.  We can hook in to the campus outreach programs and advertising.  
Museums associated with colleges can provide a unique setting in the academic world.  Our museum, and I would assume most others associated with colleges and universities, provides a physical place where our community of learners can interact with each other and with faculty outside the classroom.  This extracurricular contact provides a connection between students, their peers, and their teachers that stimulates engagement.  Students find that their museum experiences are where the classroom meets the outside world.  They see their studies actually applied and they see the results that happen with visitors to the museum.  Students who participate as docents also have an opportunity to learn time management, collections management, educational tour development, as well as other job and life skills.  In our department, we see that students who are engaged in this way have better success in the classroom and stick around to complete their degrees with actual plans for further education and career paths.  

3. Does being associated with a university add challenges to your job?  
The college is my employer and my primary job is to teach introductory level anthropology courses.  It was assumed, when I was hired, that I would also be responsible for managing the Museum of Anthropology and the associated curation facility and archives.  I was given release time from one class for one year to bring the museum and curation facility and archives up to modern standards of exhibit design and curation practice while at the same time revamping the college’s archaeological technician program.  After one year, my teaching load returned to five classes per semester.  It took seven years for the college to realize that this was unrealistic and I was given release time from one class every semester to manage the museum, curation facility and archives.  Given that the museum, curation facility, and archives were very much ‘behind the times,’ the process of completely stabilizing collections, organizing the archives, and improving the museum exhibits is still on going.  
It would seem that having a museum associated with a college or university would be beneficial to the museum and to the college.  However, in our situation, the college has not recognized the financial and staffing needs required to run a museum and we struggle to keep the doors open.  The college took federal monies to create the museum as part of constructing a new building in the 1970s and so realizes that it cannot “get rid of” the museum (though they tried to turn the space into a computer lab one year without even talking to the anthropology faculty), but there is little actual support.  
In addition, the college staff, including senior administrators, do not understand the security requirements for museum and archaeological curation spaces.  We have an alarm system, but the campus police regularly turn it off for anyone who asks.  Recently, technology support staff entered the curation space without supervision and removed the computer with our collections data base on it to upgrade the operating system.  It was not thought necessary to discuss this with me first.   I simply received an email telling me the computer had been removed.  Fortunately, I was able to stop the upgrade until we could make sure that our data base program was compatible with the new operating system.  This could have been a disaster but was a blessing in disguise as it made me much more aware of how vulnerable our data and our collections are in the college as opposed to museum environment.  Meetings with administrators and some changes to access policies will hopefully help.  

4. How do university students interact with the museum?
The Museum of Anthropology has a docent program in which any student who has successfully completed at least one anthropology course may participate.  Docents go through some basic training about housekeeping and maintenance, exhibit content, interacting with the public, and providing tours to visitors.  The docents provide tours to visiting college students, faculty, and staff as well as visitors to the campus including grade school field trip groups.
Our anthropology majors have begun to use the museum as a meeting point since many of them volunteer as docents.  This has created a space for community to develop and as such has been extremely important in our efforts to improve student success and retention.  
Some faculty (anthropology, history, American Indian studies, among others) utilize the museum, having students come to visit the museum to complete various assignments.  

Museum Anthropology 38.1: Web-Exclusive Content

In the latest issue of Museum Anthropology (38.1), journal co-editors Tony Chavarria and Maxine McBrinn co-authored an article of interviews with anthropologists that work in university museums. 

Over the next few weeks, we will be posting previously unpublished interviews as web-exclusive content. 

Keep an eye out for this exciting addition to the blog! 

Museum Anthropology - New Issue Available Online!

Museum Anthropology 37(2) Fall 2014

Table of Contents:

Embracing the Future of Museum Anthropology (pages 85–86)
Jennifer A. Shannon and Cynthia Chavez Lamar

Museum Anthropology: Conversations in the Field (pages 87–101)
Lillia McEnaney and Jennifer A. Shannon

Polysemic Objects and Partial Translations: Museums and the Interpretation of Indigenous Material Culture in Taiwan (pages 102–117)
Marzia Varutti

Crafting, Community, and Collaboration: Reflections on the Ethnographic Sala Project at the Pukara Lithic Museum, Peru (pages 118–132)
Elizabeth A. Klarich

Digital Heritage, Knowledge Networks, and Source Communities: Understanding Digital Objects in a Melanesian Society (pages 133–143)
Graeme Were

A Century of Circulation: The Return of the Smithsonian Institution's Duplicate Anthropological Specimens (pages 144–159)
Catherine A. Nichols

A Living Exhibition: The Smithsonian and the Transformation of the Universal Museum (pages 160–162)

Kylie Message

A Place That Matters Yet: John Gubbins's Museum Africa in the Postcolonial World (pages 162–164)
Richard Zimmer

Colonial Collecting and Display: Encounters with Material Culture from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (pages 164–166)
Carla M. Sinopoli

No Deal!: Indigenous Arts and the Politics of Possession (pages 166–167)
Haidy Geismar

Museums and Social Activism: Engaged Protest (pages 167–168)
Miranda J. Brady

In the Spirit of the Ancestors: Contemporary Northwest Coast Art at the Burke Museum (pages 168–170)
Anya Montiel

Treasured Possessions: Indigenous Interventions into Cultural and Intellectual Property (pages 170–171)
Tressa Berman

Imagine Africa with the Penn Museum. Exhibit at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (pages 172–174)
Diana E. Marsh

Welcome New Museum Anthropology Editors!

It is our pleasure to introduce the next editors of the Museum Anthropology journal: Maxine McBrinn, Curator of Archaeology, and Tony Chavarria (Santa Clara Pueblo), Curator of Ethnology at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, NM. And we are also pleased to announce that Lillia McEnaney will continue as blog intern.  For more information on the new editors and a special feature based on Lillia's interviews with museum anthropologists, please see our upcoming and final issue of the journal (Volume 37.2). 

Do you teach a course in Museum Anthropology?

Following up on our survey, we invite you to email us your syllabus so that we can share reading resources and themes for teaching Museum Anthropology (to undergraduates, graduates, practitioners, etc). 

Please send your syllabi or lists of readings/themes to by May 30, 2014. We will compile the information and share it with our readers. 

Thank you!

Ideas for Authors to Get the Word Out

Wiley Blackwell and the American Anthropological Association have held a number of meetings informing editors on how to get articles to reach more people... here are some suggestions that you can implement on articles you have already written, or ones you will submit in the future:

1) The article title is important!  Use title words that will correlate with search terms.  For example, "Mediating Culture" would not be a great stand alone title for an article. Try to get key words in the title to facilitate people being able to search and find your article easier.  Be specific, and try to avoid colons.

2) Associated content.  Because the articles are distributed online, you can add additional content through the online portal.  For example, a video abstract, additional photos, etc.  Keep this in mind when you submit your paper.

3) Use social media like Facebook, Twitter, and websites like blogs and your faculty or student webpage, etc. to tell the wider public your article has been published.  Include a link to the article.  There are new impact factor metrics that can include social media as well as citations in other articles to measure the impact of your article.  These metrics are sometimes important to departments in tenure discussions. Recent uses of web tech includes a google hangout recorded and posted with an article, short interviews with authors, etc.  Other suggestions from Wiley is to create a Wikipedia page that links to your article and contact your university media relations office with a description of your work to raise awareness.

4) Virtual issues can be used to curate and publish online a thematic or other grouping of articles from a journal, or across journals, at the AAA/Wiley Blackwell site.  There is no deadline for creating these compilations, and they only require a few paragraphs of introduction.  If you are interested in doing this, contact the journal and pitch the idea.  It entails minimal labor (beyond sifting through many issues and selecting a list of articles) and those virtual issues end up bringing in a lot of traffic to a journal's site. 

Our Farewell!

Dear Museum Anthropology Readers:

With this posting, we bid you farewell as the co-editors of Museum Anthropology. The next post will come to you from the new editors!

Editors are largely at the mercy of the authors who seek to publish with them. In that sense, we see the journal not as a product of our work so much as a result of our colleagues’ commitment to keeping Museum Anthropology flourishing. We are grateful to everyone who submitted to the journal, and the many more, we hope, who are considering submitting a paper in the near future.

The other significant group of people that keeps the journal’s wheels turning is the more than two hundred peer reviewers with whom we have worked over the last three years. The double-blind peer review process that we initiated in 2009 means that peer reviewers rarely get the accolades they deserve. Without them and their dedicated efforts and contributions, there would not be a peer-reviewed journal.

We also thank our editorial board members, whose insights and advice helped us expand our reach across disciplines and continents. Our thanks also go to the AAA publishing department and the Wiley-Blackwell production staff, and also the Council for Museum Anthropology Board of Directors, who facilitated our efforts and allowed us to push boundaries from time to time.

Finally, and especially, we thank Christine Weeber, our Editorial Manager, in-house copy editor, and proofreader, whose amazing perseverance and professionalism have helped make the journal such a pleasure to put together. We are especially pleased to report also that Weeber will continue her work as managing editor, which will help make the editorial transition proceed even more smoothly. Quite simply, Weeber’s steady hand, attention to detail, and behind-the-scenes efficiency make her an indispensible asset to the successful production of Museum Anthropology.

We now turn over the editorial reins to Dr. Jennifer Shannon of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Dr. Cynthia Chavez Lamar of the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe. We have every confidence that they will continue the long tradition of excellence for which Museum Anthropology is known. We wish them all the luck and look forward to 2013 when we can open the journal and enjoy it again, as readers.

Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh and Stephen E. Nash

Anthropology Spotlight App

The American Anthropological Association announces that it has just launched a Wiley-Blackwell anthropology app, Anthropology Spotlight, available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

Among other things, our new app contains abstracts for Museum Anthropology.

It is free and available for download at the iTunes store:

Anthropology Spotlight is not to be confused with the AAA’s meeting app (, which is a useful tool for the AAA conference.

Wiley-Blackwell Anthropology Spotlight’s features include:

• Latest information on key anthropology conferences and latest conference tweets
• A free, comprehensive Frommer’s travel guide to major conference locations (in this case, Montreal)
• Latest abstracts for anthropology articles and books, including the ability to “follow” your favorite publications
• Latest Special Issues, including free articles
• Access to a series of Publishing Workshops, in audio and PDF format
• Customizable YouTube search tool to find educational videos
• A customizable search of scholarly literature, blogs and news articles related to anthropology
• Customizable Syllabi Search tool to find syllabi freely available on institutional websites, perfect for generating teaching ideas
• The ability to bookmark any content you see, email yourself a Reading List and share content via Facebook and Twitter
• The ability to add your own RSS feeds, allowing you to keep track of your favorite sources

Please download and help spread the word!

Museum Anthropology - Vol. 34, No. 1

The next issue of Museum Anthropology is out!

Museum Anthropology
Volume 34, Issue 1 Page 1 - 89


Lainie Schultz

NOT FOR ART'S SAKE: An Early Exhibition of Pre-Columbian Objects at the Toledo Museum of Art, 1928–1929 (pages 13–27)
Sarah Fee

OBJECT DIASPORAS, RESOURCING COMMUNITIES: Sierra Leonean Collections in the Global Museumscape (pages 28–42)
Paul Basu

Samuel Redman

NEOCOLONIAL COLLABORATION: Museum as Contact Zone Revisited (pages 56–70)
Robin Boast


First Nations Cultural Heritage and Law: Case Studies, Voices, and Perspectives. By Catherine Bell and Val Napoleon, eds, and Protection of First Nations Cultural Heritage: Laws, Policy, and Reform. By Catherine Bell and Robert K. Paterson, eds. (pages 71–73)
Andrea Laforet

Reburying the Past: The Effects of Repatriation and Reburial on Scientific Inquiry. By Elizabeth Weiss (pages 73–74)
Tamara L. Bray

Museums and Empire: Natural History, Human Cultures and Colonial Identities. By John M. MacKenzie (pages 74–75)
Shawna M. Meiser

The British Consular Service in the Aegean and the Collection of Antiquities for the British Museum. By Lucia P. Gunning (pages 75–76)
Michael Llewellyn Smith

Material Cultures, 1740–1920: The Meanings and Pleasures of Collecting. By John Potvin and Alla Myzelev, eds. (pages 76–78)
Christina J. Hodge

The Indian Craze: Primitivism, Modernism, and Transculturation in American Art, 1890–1915. By Elizabeth Hutchinson (pages 78–79)
Marinella Lentis and Nancy J. Parezo

Border Crossings: Transnational Americanist Anthropology. By Kathleen S. Fine-Dare and Steven L. Rubenstein, eds. (pages 79–80)
Kathleen Pickering Sherman

Cave, City, and Eagle's Nest: An Interpretive Journey through the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2. By Davíd Carrasco and Scott Sessions, eds. (pages 80–82) Marc N. Levine

Around and About Marius Barbeau: Modelling Twentieth-Century Culture. By Lynda Jessup, Andrew Nurse, and Gordon E. Smith, eds. (pages 82–83)
Richard Handler

Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience. By John H. Falk (pages 83–85)
Kathleen Tinworth


Traje de la Vida: Maya Textiles of Guatemala. Exhibit at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology (pages 86–87)
Lynn A. Meisch

Gifts from the Ancestors: Ancient Ivories of Bering Strait. Exhibit at the Princeton University Art Museum (pages 87–89)
Erin L. Hasinoff