Inside the Peabody Museum September 2016
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New Fall Program Guide; 150th Anniversary Public Programs Begin
A Peabody Museum birthday, a film screening on the Egyptian revolution, and a talk on the evolution of early societies are among the fall public programs to be presented by all four Harvard Museums of Science & Culture. See the full schedule. This month the Peabody Museum launches its lecture series Race, Representation, and Museums. Part of the museum's 150th anniversary special programming, the year-long series will address topics from the evolving relationships between museums and Native American groups to the Peabody’s important collection of fifteen slave daguerreotypes. The series is co-sponsored with Harvard’s Anthropology Department and the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. Multiple campus institutions will co-sponsor individual lectures including the Harvard University Native American Program and the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. The first lecture title, Smashing Agassiz's Boulder, is a reference to Charles Darwin, who wrote that famed Harvard professor Louis Agassiz might "throw a boulder" at him for his revolutionary theory of evolution. Today, 157 years after the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, evolutionary biology has “smashed” Agassiz’s boulder and confirmed that modern humans can all trace their ancestry to Africa. On Tuesday, September 27 at 6:00 PM, Joseph Graves will discuss accepted biological and evolutionary facts of human ancestry and consider why these facts are difficult to communicate in our society.
"Awards" for the Summer Interns
"We got practical skills working with objects, and learned how to approach projects from the beginning and streamline as we went along," says Frances Iddon, one of the museum's summer interns. She and three other students and recent graduates served as museum practice interns, working on four 2-week projects with a series of staff mentors. Together, they researched people featured in the 1893 World’s Fair publication, Portrait Types of the Midway Plaisance, for an upcoming Peabody exhibition; created overview reports on 22 sites of osteology collections; photographed and inventoried Paleolithic and historic collections; and in a six-day period, created 49 safe storage boxes (housing) for 80% of the nitiens—ring-shaped cast metal objects from Liberia used as currency—among other tasks.
The museum practice interns joined two others, as part of the Peabody Museum’s 2016 Summer Internship Program. Tessa Young worked with Conservation staff documenting, conserving and rehousing objects, while Rosalie Wilbur joined the Collections Department, inventorying collections from the ongoing Harvard Yard Archaeology Project. Once a week, all six interns met to spend time together, and hear presentations from various staff about their work across the Museum.
Excavation in Harvard Yard Starts in September
Just a short distance from the iconic John Harvard statue, Peabody Museum archaeologists lead students in the Department of Anthropology course “The Archaeology of Harvard Yard” to excavate colonial Harvard. Starting in September, the team will dig down to 17th-century ground surface level, where they expect to encounter a midden, or colonial trash zone. "Ground-penetrating radar showed dense deposits at the lowest levels," said Dr. Diana Loren, one of the two team leaders and director of academic partnerships at the museum. "We won't be digging inside a structure, but we may come into contact with remnants of the 1638 Old College, which was the first college building in America. The public is invited to the Excavation Opening on Thursday September 8 at 1:30 PM in Harvard Yard. See the excavation's results on Thursday, November 3 from 1:30 to 3:30 PM in Harvard Yard. (See the Digging Veritas exhibition for more information on the team's previous digs in the vicinity of Harvard's colonial Indian College.)
Join Mark Olive, Australia's most renowned Indigenous chef for a cooking demonstration and tasting on Saturday, September 10 from 4:00 to 5:30 pm. Olive has been cooking for more than 30 years, and his charismatic style and creative approach to food have earned him an esteemed reputation and a large following in Australia and around the world. To celebrate the Harvard Art Museums’ special exhibition Everywhen: The Eternal Present in Indigenous Art from Australia, which features many Peabody Museum materials and is on view until September 18, 2016, Olive will offer a cooking demonstration and tasting featuring Indigenous Australian ingredients. Location and ticket information.
Image Interns wear handcrafted "nitien rehousing awards," presented by Collections Assistant/staff mentor Martha Labell, left to right: Abby Muller, Rachel Ebersole, Saskia van Walsum, Frances Iddon; 18th-century cuff link from a recent Harvard Yard excavation. All images © President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
See what's coming up in the Calendar of Events.