Friday, August 22, 2014

Northwest Indian College Tribal Museum Studies Program

TMSD 201 Introduction to Tribal Museum Studies
Course Instructor: Sara Siestreem, MFA

This course and program is offered ONLINE in a hybrid format. Hybrid courses are supported through regularly scheduled video conferencing (face-to-face) classes with the instructor. Class includes 4 hours of academic study each week. This includes 2 hours of face-to-face class time and approximately 2 hours of additional classwork each week.

Class will meet online Fridays, 12:00—2:00 PM. A headset and microphone are required; a webcam is preferred, but optional for students.

This 4 -credit course will:
-present an overview of museums with an emphasis on tribal museums and cultural centers
-explore the ethical and legal issues related to Native people and the museums that portray their histories
-contrast mainstream museums and community-driven tribal museums
-discuss the skills needed for careers in museums, as Native artists and more

Class dates: Sept. 26; Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; Nov. 7, 14, 21; Dec. 5, 12
Sara Siestreem, MFA is a contemporary Native American Artist, scholar, consultant and educator. Sara is Hanis Coos and an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Tribes from the South Coast of Oregon. She earned her BS (Phi Kappa Phi) at PSU and an MFA (with distinction) from Pratt Art Institute in Brooklyn, NY.
FALL QTR. 2014 Sept. 22 - Dec. 12

Registration and more information:
To learn more about the Tribal Museum Studies Program, or to register, please contact:
Susan Given-Seymour at, ph. 360.392.4248
Tami Chock at, ph. 360.392.4259

More information HERE

The Northwest Indian College is committed to providing indigenous peoples with opportunities to learn about and develop skills related to tribal history and cultural arts.  Through courses, workshops and trainings people in the Tribal Museum Studies Program will further their knowledge for careers working in tribal museums and cultural centers.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Museum Anthropology Leaders: Sheila Goff, History Colorado, Denver, Part 1

Exclusive Museum Anthropology Blog Interview with Sheila Goff, History Colorado, Denver

This interview is the second installment in a new series, Museum Anthropology Leaders, where blog intern Lillia McEnaney will be interviewing various anthropological museum professionals. The first installment in the series was with Alaka Wali at the Field Museum. 

Sheila Goff is the NAGPRA Liaison/Assistant Curator of Culture and Community at History Colorado, where she has been for almost seven years. 

This is Part 1 of 2.

When in your education did you decide to pursue museum anthropology? Why?
I returned to school to train for a second career after teaching ESL for about 20 years. I had become interested in southwest archaeology and decided that working in a museum with anthropology collections rather than pursuing a career with a lot of field work away from home better fit with my lifestyle as a single mother. 

Could you provide the readers of the blog with a brief description of your day to day job as the NAGPRA Liaison/Assistant Curator of Culture and Community at History Colorado?
Every day is different and every day is filled with variety, which is why I enjoy my work. My work is split between coordinating implementation of NAGPRA on behalf of History Colorado and curatorial duties that broadly encompass caring for the archaeology and ethnographic collections, outreach and exhibit development. Here is an example of a recent day. I began by writing a cultural affiliation determination statement for three sets of Native American human remains in preparation for drafting a Notice of Inventory Completion. The consultation process, lasting several months, was complete. Next, I made a series of telephone calls to tribes with whom we are coordinating transfer and reburial of other repatriated remains later this fall in order to work on some of the logistics. I answered an inquiry from another tribe. In the afternoon of this particular day, I did some reading for an exhibit component that will be part of an exhibit to be completed in 2016. I put the finishing touches on a public talk I will give in later in the month on ancestral Pueblo food. I inventoried a box in a historic fort collection that we are in the midst of rehousing. 

Which project or exhibition that you worked on are you most proud of? 
I was recently on the exhibit team for the development of an exhibit entitled “Living West.” It is an environmental history of Colorado. One section is about the Ancestral Pueblo people from the Mesa Verde region. I was responsible for content and artifact and image selection in the section as well as the tribal consultation associated with exhibit development. The exhibit has been well received and recently won an AASLH Leadership in History Award of Merit. I strove to weave the Native voice throughout all components in the section and I was particularly happy when our tribal consultants saw and liked the final result.

What was the most challenging project or aspect of a project that you have worked on?

Sometimes it is difficult to find appropriate land for reburial of remains repatriated under NAGPRA. In 2012, I coordinated the transfer and reburial of 337 sets of remains and 439 associated funerary objects. The project involved three tribes from two states, our museum, and a federal agency. The project was challenging not only because of the number of people involved and the large number of remains and funerary objects but also because it had taken almost 8 years of effort to receive permission to rebury where the tribes wanted their ancestors laid to rest.   

Part 2 coming soon.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Position Announcement: Archaeological Collections Manager, Wesleyan Univeristy

General Duties: 
-Under the general direction of the Provost and the supervision of the Dean of Social Sciences, the Archaeological Collections Manager is responsible for collections management and for working with faculty and students to facilitate their use of the collections. The incumbent serves as the University’s Repatriation Coordinator, maintaining Wesleyan’s compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).
-Research and document collection objects to determine provenance and supplementary context.
-Develop, manage, and maintain an electronic collections database including digital images.  Maintain and update collections website. 
-Supervise all access to collections storage area in accordance with the Wesleyan --University Archaeology and Anthropology Collection (WUAAC) Management Policy, tracking objects and maintaining activity logs, register and accession ledgers.
-Respond to outside inquiries about the collections and provide access and assistance to outside scholars.
-Support course laboratory sessions and assist faculty in the preparation and development of labs for new courses.
-Give tours of collections and train users as needed in the proper handling of collections and use of equipment.
-Monitor condition of objects.  Coordinate conservation efforts.
-Serve as repatriation coordinator implementing NAGPRA regulations, including the development and maintenance of inventories, summaries, notices and supporting documentation.  
-Develop and maintain relationships with Tribal representatives regarding NAGPRA sensitive collections, conduct formal consultations.
-Maintain culturally appropriate guidelines for handling and curation of human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony.  Facilitate Tribal visits and transfers of human remains and objects. 
-Manage communications with National NAGPRA Office and other institutions.

-Perform similar duties as necessary.

Minimum Qualifications 
Bachelor’s degree, preferably in Anthropology, Archaeology, Classical Studies, Museum Studies or related field. Excellent computer and database management skills. High degree of integrity. Must be able to meet the physical demands of the position on a continual basis with or without reasonable accommodations including climbing ladders, lifting heavy objects, pushing and pulling heavily loaded carts. Ability and willingness to work occasional evenings and weekends, as needed.

Preferred Qualifications
Master’s degree in Anthropology, Archaeology, Classical Studies, Museum Studies or related field.  Background in North American Native history/archaeology. Demonstrated experience in archaeological collections management. Experience with digital photography.  Experience with formal consultation and implementation of NAGPRA, including inventory of human remains and artifact collections, cataloging, collections documentation, and determinations of cultural affiliations.  Familiarity with EmbARK Collections Manager software. 

Apply online here

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Orozco Murals, Native American Art Digitalized at Dartmouth College

Jessica Avitabile, The Dartmouth
July 28, 2014

The completion of the Dartmouth Digital Orozco website and the digitalization of the Hood Museum’s collection of Native American art are [Dartmouth] College’s latest steps to digitize artwork. The website, which went online in late June, makes the Orozco murals in Baker Library available to the public, along with relevant information and other pictures, while the digitalization will make more than 4,000 pieces of Native American work accessible online following a grant earlier this year.

The museum received the $150,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services last September to digitize its Native American art collection.

Thus far, the Hood has digitally photographed more than 2,000 objects in 2,500 images, the Hood’s senior curator Katherine Hart said. The Hood is sorting through material mainly by geographic region, which loosely sorts the works by different cultures. After the Hood goes through the pieces from each region, an expert with knowledge of the specific region consults with Hood staff and offers their expertise.

More here

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sweet Briar College Returns 400-year-old Artifacts to Quapaw Tribe

Jennifer McManamay, Sweet Briar College
July 25, 2014

A month ago, Karol Lawson surveyed the trunk of her Volkswagon Jetta and judged its contents — carefully packed in clean white boxes wedged among quilted blankets — ready for a journey of more than 1,000 miles. Though she didn’t know it then, in two days’ time a man from the Quapaw Tribe of Indians would sweep a frying pan filled with smoldering hickory, red oak and cedar over the emptied trunk, fanning the smoke with an eagle feather.
If the smoking custom was unknown to Lawson, director of the Sweet Briar Art Collection and Galleries, she understood very well the cultural significance of her cargo. She drove to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville to repatriate funerary objects excavated in 1932 from the Nodena archaeological site in Mississippi County, Ark., and donated to the College. The boxes contained 10 ceramic bottles, jars and bowls once buried with human remains.
The items likely predate European contact with the ancestors of the people known today as the Quapaw — making the ceramics at least 400 years old. Lawson carried them into her hotel room each night for safekeeping.
More here

Friday, July 25, 2014

US Museums Provide Emergency Support for Syria

Julia Halperin, The Art Newspaper
18 July 2014

US museums are teaming up with the Syrian Interim Government’s Heritage Task Force to help protect Syrian museum collections and stem the loss of cultural heritage amid the country’s ongoing civil war.
Late last month, experts from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and the Pennsylvania Museum’s Penn Cultural Heritage Center quietly organised a three-day training session for curators, heritage experts and civilians in an undisclosed location outside of Syria. Around 20 people from several Syrian provinces attended the event, which focused on securing high-risk collections. 

“Local communities are best equipped to identify heritage in need of preservation and protection, and this is precisely what is happening in Syria,” says Richard Leventhal, the executive director of the Penn Cultural Heritage Center, in a statement. 

Experts are still working to determine the extent of looting that has taken place in Syria over the past several years and continues to ravage the country’s ancient sites. As reported in the July/August issue of The Art Newspaper, recently published satellite images of Dura-Europos reveal the dramatic scale of looting at the Hellenistic site, near the Iraqi border, between June 2012 and April 2014. The images show hundreds of holes made by looters searching for artifacts. 
More here

Monday, July 21, 2014

Peru Seeks Repatriation of 400 Cultural Artifacts from New York

Rachel Chase, Peru This Week
Julu 16, 2014

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art currently houses hundreds of artifacts from the Mochica culture— and Peru wants them back.

Peruvian cultural artifacts are making their way home from all over the world— Sweden’s return of the Paracas textiles being a particularly high-profile incidence of repatriation. Now, the regional government of Piura is looking to get back 400 pieces currently housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
El Comercio reports that the pieces in question were found in the Loma Negra cemetery, an area in which a number of Mochica elite were buried. Grave robbers sacked the tombs in the 1960s, and no extensive investigation into the site has been carried out, writes El Comercio.
According to El Comercio, the pieces arrived in New York in the 1970s, and include metal masks made of copper and gold as well as a large amount of ceramic objects.
Rafael Sime, regional director of culture, said that returning the pieces is “the most sensible [thing to do].”
Sime added that “I think we need to think about where we are going to exhibit the pieces. We must know if we’re prepared with the adequate [facilities] in order to generate a museum plan. That’ll require a budget. We’re going to put together a project to look into these details.”
Famed archaeologist Walter Alva echoed Sime’s sentiments in a recent interview in Piura: “We can appeal to the good will of the American government. But a museum is needed to push this measure forward and to retrieve the pieces. Without a museum, it’s more difficult.”
More here