For Immediate Release

New Exhibition

Arts of War: Artistry in Weapons across Cultures

(Cambridge, MA September 12, 2014) War is a persistent attribute of human cultures through time, and weapons are crafted with a practical, and deadly, intent. Nearly as pervasive as war itself, is the practice of decorating objects used to wage it. Arts of War: Artistry in Weapons across Cultures is a new Peabody Museum exhibition that presents the varied beauty and craftsmanship of war objects drawn from cultures around the world. From maces, clubs, daggers, and spears, to shields, helmets, and entire suits of armor, this exhibition offers museum-goers more than 150 striking examples of weapons that are also extraordinary works of art.

Carved wood club with whale teeth, possibly Tlingit, Western Canada.  PM 14-27-10/85889.

What would compel a warrior to deliberately imbue his weapon with beauty that stands in such stark contrast to its intended purpose? And why are war objects so much more common and elaborately decorated that those crafted for peace-making? Arts of War probes intriguing questions, unveils the stories behind some of the most stunning war objects ever created, and explores the passion and purpose of the people who made them.

Arts of War: Artistry in Weapons across Cultures opens to the public Saturday, October 18 at 9:00 AM at Harvard University's Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at 11 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, Mass. It will remain on view through October 18, 2017.

Save the date: Curator Steven Leblanc’s public lecture on Arts of War, Nov. 6, 2014 at the Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford St., Cambridge.

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. In 2012, the museum joined the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture, a consortium of four museums in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. The four museums open to the public are Harvard Museum of Natural History, Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard Semitic Museum, and Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, together exploring Earth’s history, life, and cultures.

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. The Peabody Museum is located at 11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Museum is a short walk from the Harvard Square MBTA station. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, $8 for children, ages 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 to the Peabody Museum includes admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. For more information call 617-496-1027 or go to

Find us on Facebookfacebook link, Flickrflickr link, Twittertwitter link, and YouTube YouTube link

Media Contact:

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