For Immediate Release

New Exhibition: Translating Encounters:
Travel and Transformation in the Early Seventeenth Century

(Cambridge, February 3, 2010) Wonder, confusion, and curiosity: just a few of the responses by Africans, Native Americans, and Europeans in the age of exploration, as each struggled to comprehend the other.

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology presents a new exhibition, Translating Encounters: Travel and Transformation in the Early Seventeenth Century. The exhibition opens Thursday, March 25, 2010 with a free reception from 5 to 7 PM, open to the public.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, new navigational technologies spurred global travel. While European depictions of early encounters are familiar to us today, other peoples also left material records of their own experience. Inspired by collections of the Peabody Museum, Houghton Library, and the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, this exhibit broadly explores global mobility, encounter, and exchange in colonial encounters among peoples of Europe, Africa, and the Americas.


Curated by the students of English 127 and English 220: Travel and Transformation, undergraduate and graduate courses taught by Harvard University Professor Stephen Greenblatt. Also curating the exhibition are Drs. Diana Loren, Peabody Museum associate curator and Christina Hodge, Peabody Museum senior curatorial assistant.

About the Peabody Museum
The Peabody Museum is among the oldest archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world with one of the finest collections of human cultural history found anywhere. It is home to superb materials from Africa, ancient Europe, North America, Mesoamerica, Oceania, and South America in particular. In addition to its archaeological and ethnographic holdings, the Museum’s photographic archives, one of the largest of its kind, hold more than 500,000 historical photographs, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and chronicling anthropology, archaeology, and world culture.

Hours and location: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., seven days a week. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, $6 for children, 3–18. Free with Harvard ID or Museum membership. The Museum is free to Massachusetts residents Sundays, 9 A.M. to noon, year round, and Wednesdays from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. (September to May). Admission includes admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. For more information call 617-496-1027 or go online to: The Peabody Museum is located at 11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Museum is a short walk from the Harvard Square MBTA station.

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Media Contact:

Faith Sutter
Communications Coordinator
Peabody Museum
Tel: 617-495-3397

Metal knife with carved wooden head image, ND, Congo PM 17-41-50/B1565. Stone face mask, Teotihuacan style, Mexico PM 28-1-20/C10588; Pedestalled Majolica plate, 17th century, Spanish, found in Mexico PM 969-28-20/2369. Photos by Hillel Burger. Collage by William Brinkley.
Where: Peabody Museum
When: Free Opening and Reception 5-7 PM, March 25, 2010
Public Information: 617-496-1027 or