Inside the Peabody Museum February 2016

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Spring Program Highlights

Student Guide Favorites


The Secret of Our SuccessSpring Program Highlights

In February, find out how our culture is driving human evolution and discover what French archaeologists have uncovered about royal tomb builders in ancient Thebes. Details on these two lectures are in the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture Spring Program Guide.  

Coming up later this spring are talks on the deliberate destruction of icons, the military culture of the Citadel in South Carolina, and the museums of Tanzania. Celebrate the Boston Marathon with a multiday event, Native American Running: Culture, Health, and Sport. Families can craft their own ocarinas in a workshop inspired by the current exhibition, Ocarinas of the Americas: Music Made in Clay. 

Joseph Henrich, the Harvard professor and speaker for February 24's The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter.

Penobscot birch bark canoe

Student Guide Favorites

Highlights tours of the museum by Harvard student guides recently resumed for the semester. Catch a lunchtime tour free with admission on Fridays at 12:30 PM, or Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 PM, with a brief spring break hiatus March 11-21. Guides encourage conversation and are interested in visitor opinions, and of course, guides have formed their own attachments to objects on the tour. We asked each to identify a favorite, and here are few selections:

The bird transformation mask in the Hall of the North American Indian: "We studied the Pacific Northwest art culture in high school, and I remember being fascinated by the ritual transformations of the shamans." -- Domniki Georgopoulou

The Tlingit armor in Arts of War: "[The one] that's been decorated with Chinese coins, because it represents such an interesting encounter between two cultures." -- Kevin Hilgartner

The birchbark canoe in The Legacy of Penobscot Canoes: A View from the River: "I appreciate it particularly after watching all of the videos online of the process of making such a canoe. It takes great skill and expertise to make such a canoe! Plus, the tidbit about sinking it to the bottom of a lake in the winter to keep it from cracking is a fun one to share with visitors." -- Melissa Coles

The birchbark canoe in The Legacy of Penobscot Canoes: A View from the River: "As an avid whitewater canoeist and kayaker I have read a fair bit about birch bark canoes and expeditions taken in them. I simply wish the museum would permit me to take this birch bark canoe for a run down the St. Johns in Maine...though I would settle for a spin in the Charles." -- Patrick Kelly

The keris from Bali in Arts of War: "I love the keris not only because it's beautiful, being made of gold and precious stones, but also because its power isn't immediately obvious to the onlooker. The keris is obviously lethal, in that it has a sharp blade, but it is also thought to have spiritual powers of protection. It's supposed to ease the pain of childbirth if slipped under a mother's pillow, and offer defense in battle." -- Eloise Blondiau 

Moctezuma "throne" from Templo Mayor in Encounters with the Americas. "It's one of my favorite objects because it has so much symbolism behind it. The ideas behind the duality of the Aztec cosmovision, the image of the founding of Tenochtitlan on the back of the stone (with the eagle perched on the cactus with a serpent in its mouth), and its similarity to a pyramid are all fascinating representations of ancient and modern Mexico. I had the opportunity to visit Templo Mayor in Mexico City last summer, which also gives me a sort of emotional, nostalgic connection to the piece." -- Jose Rodrigo Leal

Penobscot birchbark canoe purchased from Penobscot Indian Francis Sebattis in 1912. PM 29-33-10/98432  ©President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology.

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