Inside the Peabody Museum July 2017

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New Robert Gardner Fellow in Photography

Peabody Museum Press Book Wins Award

"We Have a 'Forever' Connection with Y'all"

In Case You Missed It...

Memory by Sammy Baloji

New Robert Gardner Fellow in Photography

Photographer Sammy Baloji of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been named the 2017 Robert Gardner Fellow in Photography at the Peabody Museum. The Fellowship carries a $50,000 stipend to begin or complete a proposed project followed by the publication of a book. “Sammy Baloji’s visually and intellectually arresting work highlights and creates essential links between the past and the present, colonial and post-colonial histories with resonance well beyond the Congo,” said Peabody Museum Curator of Visual Anthropology Ilisa Barbash. "The Museum is especially excited by his repertoire and combinations of media—from original photography to archival photographs and documents, from relief to sculpture, from compositions of individual artifacts to collage."

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The Resolution of the Suspect

Gardner Fellow and Peabody Museum Press Book Win Award

Distinguished Argentine-Israeli photographer Miki Kratsman has worked in the Palestinian Occupied Territories for over three decades, documenting the evolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including its daily effect on the Palestinian population. In Kratsman’s view, the accumulated documentation of this difficult daily routine is more significant—and more disquieting—than single images of dramatic events. Kratsman won the Peabody Museum's 2011 Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography, and his resulting book, The Resolution of the Suspect (Peabody Museum Press), visualizes the ways in which the shadow of death hovers, sometimes literally, over his Palestinian subjects. The book took first prize in the New England Museum Association's 2017 Book Publications category.

Janie Luster, Houma basket weaver

"We Have a 'Forever' Connection with Y'all"

Janie Verret Luster, a basket weaver from the United Houma Tribe of Louisiana, was visiting Boston recently when she realized there might be a Houma basket in the Peabody's collection. Seeing the basket was important to Luster because the last Houma baskets were woven in the 1940s. "We were the only tribe to make this basket in the United States," she said, and the art of making them was lost. With the help of curator Richard Conn of the Denver Art Museum, and after years of research, frustrating attempts, and some prayer, Luster began weaving palmetto Houma baskets in 1992, and passing the knowledge to others in the community. "We’re fortunate. A lot of time when you lose something it’s gone forever," she said. "We’re able to get this basket style going again." In 2011 Northwestern University's Louisiana Folklife Center inducted Luster into their Hall of Master Folk Artists for her basket weaving. 

Luster wanted a closer look at the Peabody's basket, to examine its closed weave. When museum staff arranged for her to examine the basket, she said, "I cried like a baby holding the basket for the first time, it was like holding a newborn baby for the first time." Now Luster has offered to donate one of her own baskets to the museum, saying "we have a connection now, a 'forever' connection with y'all." 

Janie Luster visited Boston with Corine Paulk, a fellow Houma, with help from Sharing a New Song, a community chorus based in nearby Arlington, Massachusetts that promotes closer relationships between peoples of different countries and cultures.

Whaleback Shell mound

In Case You Missed It: Ancient Shell Mounds of Maine

Why do archaeologists love shell mounds? New Hampshire Public Radio's Outside/In explains that shell middens--not mittens--preserve bones and can reveal when people occupied a site, what they ate, and inspire multiple theories about the people who lived there. The episode features Whaleback Shell Mound on the banks of Maine's Damariscotta River, a site excavated by the Peabody Museum. Stop by the museum to see a small exhibit on Whaleback Shell Mound.

Listen to the episode.


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

Janie Luster photo by Katherine Kolowich. Whaleback shell mound, Damariscotta, Maine, 1850. PM 2004.29.874.