Inside the Peabody Museum: January 2013

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Holiday Hours

New Director to Lead Harvard Museums of Science and Culture

Divination Lecture Series Continues

Coming up at the Peabody

Come Visit Over the Holidays

seasons greetings

Season's greetings from the Peabody!

Bring family and friends to the Museum over the holidays; the Peabody is open 361 days a year, and the only times we'll be  closed in the coming weeks are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.  That leaves plenty of time for experiencing world cultures--without the expense of a plane ticket.

Detail: Potters at Cochiti pueblo in New Mexico are well-known for making ceramic figurines. This procession of animal dancers by Seferina Ortiz features pairs of elk, deer, rams, antelope and buffalo, which dance during the winter at most of the pueblos.

Seferina Ortiz (1931–2007), Cochiti, c. 1969–1989. William R. Wright Collection, PM 995-29-10/73710.
To see the full piece, click here.

New Director to Lead Harvard Museums of Science and Culture

jane pickering at Harvard's Peabody Museum

Jane Pickering on a recent visit to the Peabody galleries. She will be on site in mid-January.

Jane Pickering has been appointed executive director of the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture (HMSC), a new consortium of Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) museums at Harvard University. The  Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is one of the HMSC museums. The other partner museums are the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Harvard University Herbaria, and the Mineralogical and Geological Museum (which already collaborate as the Harvard Museum of Natural History), the Semitic Museum, and the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments.

"The creation of HMSC and Pickering’s appointment as the first executive director of the new consortium will help us maximize the many benefits that these museums and their world-renowned collections bring to our campus and the general public," wrote FAS Dean Michael D. Smith in his December announcement.

The HMSC museums work both independently and together, in concert with Harvard faculty, students, museum curators, and members of the Harvard community, to provide interdisciplinary exhibits, events and lectures, and educational programs for students, teachers, families, and the general public.

"I am delighted to join HMSC," said Ms. Pickering. "The opportunity to build on the exceptional exhibitions and programs of all the HMSC museums is exciting. The Peabody's collections and special expertise in world culture--particularly in the Americas--will be a tremendous resource."

Pickering is currently deputy director and director of public programs at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. She has over 20 years' museum experience, including stints as a curator at the Oxford Museum of Natural History and as director of the M.I.T. Museum.

“Jane Pickering is an accomplished and creative museum director,” said Jeffrey Quilter, William and Muriel Seabury Howells Director of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. “She will be a visionary leader for the new Harvard Museums of Science and Culture. As a member museum of HMSC, the Peabody Museum looks forward to partnering with her on exhibitions, education, and events that highlight the Peabody’s and the other museums' extraordinary collections.”

The Harvard Museums of Science and Culture's goal is to foster curiosity and a spirit of discovery in visitors of all ages, enhancing public understanding of and appreciation for the natural world, science and human cultures. Together Harvard's public HMSC museums welcome more than 220,000 visitors annually from the Harvard community and Greater Boston, as well as from all 50 states and 149 countries.

Predicting Happiness and More: Divination Series Continues

Can we predict what would make us happy? Most of us would answer "yes" and that our only problem is getting it. But research in psychology, economics, and neuroscience shows that people are not very good at predicting what will make them happy, how happy it will make them, and how long that happiness will last.

Harvard professor of psychology and bestselling author of Stumbling on Happiness Daniel Gilbert leads the first of this spring's Divination Series lectures on Wednesday, February 20 at 6:00 PM at the Geological Lecture Hall (24 Oxford St., Cambridge).

Is the problem that we can’t really imagine what our futures will hold? Is the problem that society lies to us about the true sources of human happiness? Yes, and yes again. Professor Gilbert will explain why, when it comes to finding happiness, we can’t always trust our imaginations—or our mothers.

Three more lectures will follow, and we predict they will be wonderful: "Divination Through the History of Dreaming" by Harvard Divinity School's Kimberley C. Patton; "Perfect Model: The Past, Present, and Future of Prediction" by scientist and author David Orrell; and "Foresight, Forecasting, and the Future in Ancient Mesopotamia" by Francesca Rochberg of University of California, Berkeley.


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





Did you miss any lectures? You can listen to them here or download them to your mobile device through iTunes U. Look for Harvard's Peabody Museum lectures.

January 19

Noon–4:00 pm

Family Drop-in Event

Awesome Arctic Artifacts

February 7

6:00 pm


The Other American Revolution: Archaeology and the Pueblo Revolt of 1680
Matthew J. Liebmann, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University

February 16

Noon–4:00 pm

Family Drop-in Event

Mexican Flag Day Discovery Room

February 19-22

Noon-4:00 pm

Family Drop-in Event (School Vacation Week)

Mexican Flag Day Discovery Room

February 20

6:00 pm


Happiness: What Your Mother Didn’t Tell You

Daniel Gilbert, Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University