Inside the Peabody Museum April 2016

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New Exhibition: In Fine Feather

Special Event: Native American Running

Two Public Lectures


In Fine FeatherNew Exhibition: In Fine Feather

Feathers, large and small, plain and colorful, have been used for millennia to enhance the beauty and power of clothing and other objects. Highlighting rare and beautiful pieces from the Peabody Museum’s collections, this small-scale exhibition explores the ways in which feathers have been used to signal or endow beauty, wealth, status, and spiritual wellbeing in cultures around the world.

From a mummy mask adorned with boldly colored feathers, to delicate feather inlay jewelry, In Fine Feather: Selections from the Peabody Collections will feature unusual and rarely seen works of spiritual power and craftsmanship. The exhibition opens to the public Wednesday, April 13 at 9:00 AM and will remain on view through September 5, 2016.

Native American RunningSpecial Event: Native American Running

Join us for Native American Running: Culture, Health, Sport, a multi-day event kicking off with a free public conference on the afternoon of Friday, April 15 at Harvard--no registration required--featuring Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota) and Native American runners, historians, and educators. See all the participants and conference information.

April 18, 2016 is the 120th running of the Boston Marathon, the premier international celebration of endurance, running, fitness and community.  It is also the 80th anniversary of the 1936 victory of Ellison "Tarzan" Brown, a Narragansett Native American, whose surge past John A. Kelley on the Newton Hills led to the naming of  the infamous "Heartbreak Hill."  Not many runners and fans, however, know that the Boston Marathon was won by another Native American (Thomas Longboat of the Onandaga Six Nations in 1907), and that running traditions have long been an important part of Native American culture.

This year, the Peabody Museum is delighted to collaborate with the Boston Athletic Association to present Native American Running: Culture, Health, and Sport--a multi-day public event that will explore the history and importance of Native American running traditions, present efforts to support and encourage running in Native American communities today, and promote the many benefits of running. Originally conceived by Harvard evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman, whose research has explored running among Native peoples, with Davíd Carrasco, a Harvard historian who studies Mesoamerican religions, the event comprises a free public conference at Harvard, two sessions at the Boston Marathon Expo, youth/community activities, and Native competitors running the race.

Presented in collaboration with the Boston Athletic Association, Harvard University Native American Program, Office of the Provost, and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study, Harvard University 

Monte AlbanTwo Free Public Lectures: (Re)Conceptualizing the Ruins of Monte Albán and Museum Conversations: Curating Data/Challenging History

The extensive remains of Monte Albán, an ancient city in the southern Mexican region of Oaxaca that thrived from roughly 500 BCE–700 CE, lie atop a mountain that affords a striking view of the surrounding valley. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 and one of Mexico’s top archaeological-tourist destinations, Monte Albán was among pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica’s premier capitals. On Thursday, April 21, Lindsay Jones, Professor in the Department of Comparative Studies at Ohio State University, will (re)conceptualize Monte Albán as an enduring work of architecture, one that provides a window into Mexico’s past while being a resource for ongoing economic development, literary and artistic expression, spiritual renewal, and the promotion (and contestation) of national, ethnic, and Indigenous identities in Mexico. 

In this year's seminar on innovative curatorial practice, Laura Kurgan of Columbia University and artist Fred Wilson will, from different perspectives, reflect on their work to reimagine how museum exhibits present information, often by juxtaposing the unexpected to create new insights. Their short presentations will be followed by a moderated discussion.

Museum Conversations lecture is co-sponsored by the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture and the Harvard Art Museums as part of the Harvard Museums' Seminar on Innovative Curatorial Practice. 
Free event parking for both events is available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage.

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

Image credits:
In Fine Feather: Necklace of bird pendants, Bolivia. © President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, PM# 09- 1-30/74665 (digital file# 99320012).
Native American Running: Courtney Lewis (Mojave and Hopi), member of the Wings Cross Country Championship National Team. Courtesy: Wings of America
Two public lectures: Monte Alban, Great Plaza