Inside the Peabody Museum: December 2014


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Tiny Toys

18th-Century Sleeve Buttons Found in Harvard Yard

See Maya Civilization in Cambridge, MA

Save the Date: Arts of War concert 

Tiny ivory village. Collected in 1902 in Labrador, Canada by George W. Durgin. Carved ivory, wood, pigment, leather, string, fiber. PM 61-8-10/39086Tiny Toys

An upcoming mini-exhibit of toys in the Peabody Museum lobby will feature a pair of fur yo-yos from Alaska and a tiny ivory village collected in 1902 in Labrador, Canada. A portion of the village is shown here. Other toys and games in the exhibit include familiar items from surprising locations. There are spinning tops from Papua New Guinea and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, a board game from Liberia, toy vehicles from Burkina Faso and the Central African Republic, and gambling or pick up sticks from California and China.

Playing cards, originating in Asia, made their way through Europe to the New World with local adaptations. Deities appear on the round disk cards from India (on view), while soldiers and royalty adorn the flat rectangular cards from Bolivia.

On view December 18 through March 22. 

Massa hut at Mogrom, Chad from Harvard African Studies18th-Century Sleeve Buttons Found in Harvard Yard: Updates from the Harvard Yard Excavation

The Fall 2014 field season in Harvard Yard is officially over.  Weather conditions were mostly favorable for excavation and the few rainstorms we encountered slowed us only a little. 

As in previous seasons, we recovered artifacts ranging in date from the 21st through 17th centuries. Our focus this year was to further excavate the structural remains from the 1655 Indian College. This season’s excavations did indeed reveal a continuation of the north-south foundation trench along with some new architectural features to interpret. These include concentrated areas of clay and large foundation stones, which may have served as underpinnings of the structure. One week, in the pouring rain, students recovered a set of silver alloy sleeve buttons (cufflinks) with faceted clear paste inset. Whole sleeve buttons are seldom recovered from colonial sites. They were particularly fancy, suggesting that at least one student was very fashionably garbed at 18th-century Harvard.

This spring, we move to the lab. We will be cataloging and analyzing artifacts from the excavations, which include cufflinks, ceramics, and tobacco pipes that can be identified by maker. We’ll be interpreting artifacts and features to pull together a synthesized narrative of early Harvard College. Stay tuned for more analysis and interpretation!     --Harvard Yard Archaeology Project

 Hidden Worlds features 33 objects from the Peabody Museum

See Maya Civilization in Cambridge, MA

The Peabody's Maya collection is recognized worldwide for its excellence and breadth. Now in addition to the Encounters with the Americas exhibition at the Peabody Museum, 33 Peabody Maya objects are on view in the next zip code, including the head of the important maize diety and a stingray barb engraved with glyphs.   Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed, now at the Museum of Science, is the largest exhibition of its kind in the United States and invites you to uncover the rise and eventual decline of this majestic civilization — including its social, natural, and spiritual realms — through never-before-seen artifacts, hands-on activities, multimedia components, and re-created environments. Experience a cross-section of Maya life, from divine kings to the artisans and laborers who formed the backbone of their society. And learn how the Maya people and their culture endure to this day. Presented in English and Spanish.  And this winter the Peabody Museum and the Museum of Science will co-present three programs on the Maya, including "the thrill of the find," the Maya and climate change, and the new insights into the origins of the Maya civiliation. See the Calendar of Events for full details


Save the Date: Arts of War Concert

The Dudley World Music Ensemble presents a unique concert inspired by the Peabody Museum's new exhibition Arts of War: Artistry in Weapons across Cultures, featuring both original compositions and existing repertoire drawn from across the world: from battle music in Java and classics dedicated to the war goddess of India to conversations between the Yi mouth harp and voices of tabla drums. The concert will also include performances by the Gamelan Si Betty ensemble at Harvard. The groups will perform Wednesday, December 10 at 8:00 PM in the Geological Lecture Hall (24 Oxford Street), preceded by special evening hours in the Arts of War exhibition from 5:00-8:00 PM. 

The Dudley World Music Ensemble (WME) at Harvard University is a collective of musicians committed to exploring music beyond the Euro-American tradition through rearranging, composing, and performing music and sound that draws on various national, regional, and local musical cultures. Rujing Huang currently serves as the ensemble director for WME.

See what's coming up in the Calendar of Events.