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PAHMA Newsletter (Fall, 2003)

PAHMA Newsletter (Fall, 2003)

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Published by: Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology on Apr 25, 2009
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he Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology announces the new exhibition,
Ecuadorian Pottery and Textile Traditions
, on view to the public September 12through December 14, 2003. The exhibition pays tribute to Ecuador's rich histo-ry and cultural accomplishments by tracing the chronology and devel-opment of the materials, methods, and designs used by Ecuadorianartists from pre-Hispanic times to the present. The Berkeley presenta-tion includes Ecuadorian textiles from the Mossman-Vitale Collectionalong with examples of pre-Hispanic pottery from the San DiegoMuseum of Man and contemporary Ecuadorian pottery from pri-vate collections.
Ecuadorian Pottery and Textile Traditions
is basedon the exhibition
Ecuadorian Pottery Traditions
organized by theSan Diego Museum of Man.
Ecuadorian cultures were among the first in the Americas to discover the mixture of clay, water, and fire that led to the invention of ceramics. The earliest examples of pottery,fired some 6,000 years ago, have revised the archaeological record, peeling back layers of time to revealEcuador's heritage. Archaeological evidence supports theories that an ancient ceramic tradition and perma-nent farming villages were established in Ecuador at least a thousand years before similar pottery-makingand agrarian communities were established in Peru and Mesoamerica. The development of a pottery tradi-tion goes hand-in-hand with cultural development. Before pottery-making techniques evolve, civilizationsmust first establish settled communities with a sufficient food supply to sustain their way of life. A strongtextile tradition also accompanied the development of pottery in Ecuador. Evidence of intricate ceramicspindle whorls and ornate costumes on ceramic figures are an indication of the high level of textile devel-opment in Ecuador from pre-Hispanic times forward.
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Dear Friends,s the new director of the Phoebe A.Hearst Museum of Anthropology(PAHMA), I promise you that theyear ahead will be one to remember as wereveal the
Hidden Treasures of the Hearst 
.We are embarking on an ambitious three-year program of changing exhibitions and public programs toincrease our role of service to the campus and the broader communi-ty under a newly launched initiative:
Diversity – Cultural Arts – Antiquities
.In September 2003 we will open the exhibition,
EcuadorianPottery and Textile Traditions
, which explores the birthplace of ceramics and the evolution of styles and techniques through exam-ples of ancient and modern pottery. We are grateful to the San DiegoMuseum of Man, curator Grace Johnson, and to guest curatorsRichard Burkett and Joe Molinaro, for enabling us to bring theexhibit to Berkeley, which we are augmenting with several examplesof Ecuadorian textiles from the Mossman-Vitale Collection.In February 2004, the Hearst Museum will open
Hecho enMéxico: Mexican Folk Art 
. The exhibition, featuring objects fromevery state in the country, will be accompanied by a series of scholar-ly lectures, docent and school tours, and public events. The Museumwill also be developing programs with local artists in conjunctionwith the exhibit.The Hearst Museum continues to maintain its strong com-mitment to the collections and their use in support of faculty teach-ing as well as for intra- and extramural research. In the spring, UCBerkeley Classics Professor Dr. Stephen G. Miller captivated ourimaginations with his discovery that a bust of Plato and an unre-markable herm in the Museum’s collections belonged together as onesculpture to portray one of the best likenesses of the Greekphilosopher.Dr. Tim White, professor of integrative biology at UCBerkeley and PAHMA’s curator of biological anthropology, con-firmed with his team of researchers that fossilized skulls of twoadults and one child discovered in eastern Ethiopia are 160,000 yearsold and are the oldest known fossils of Homo sapiens. Skeletal sam-ples from the collection were integral to this research.Recent efforts to extend the reach of the collections canalso be seen through the Museum’s new Web site –http://hearstmuse-um.berkeley.edu – which includes online exhibitions, program infor-mation, and is the gateway for further study about our vastholdings.
A Fond Farewell
It goes without saying that I have inherited this position from anextraordinary director who managed to make great strides in movingthe Museum forward in a brief three years, doing so on a part-timebasis, while teaching in the Anthropology Department and conduct-ing fieldwork in Oceania.Patrick Kirch, class of 1954 professor of anthropology,took over as museum director in July 1999. His earnest persuasive-ness led to new funding for a permanent exhibit in the NativeCalifornian Cultures Gallery and to the highly acclaimed centennialexhibit,
A Century of Collecting 
. Pat worked diligently to expand thepublic reach of the Museum, initiating the partnership with theHaases, for example, to spearhead the redesign of the Museum'sWeb site for broader access to the collections and to program infor-mation.Another of Pat's important accomplishments was oversee-ing the completion of the NAGPRA inventories and the consultationwork with Indian Tribes. Pat and his staff were able to develop effec-tive working relationships with the tribes and to make several loanagreements so both the tribes and the Museum can have access tothese important anthropological collections into the future.During his directorship, Pat organized a long-range plan-ning process at the Museum and created a visionary plan for the nextten years. The first step in the plan was to hire a full-time museumdirector, and it is with great enthusiasm that I have accepted theposition. As I move forward with my plans for the Hearst Museumof Anthropology, I am honored to have the camaraderie of myesteemed colleague who continues as a fulltime faculty member hereat UC Berkeley and as PAHMA’s curator of oceanic archaeology.When Phoebe Hearst identified the need for an anthropo-logical collection in the Western United States over 100 years ago,her original vision for that museum was as
a great educator
dedicat-ed to the
dissemination of knowledge among the many
. After morethan a century of service and association with one of the greatestpublic universities in the world, we continue to be guided by thisvision as we strive to promote understanding of the history anddiversity of human cultures through our collections, research, exhibi-tions, and programs.We look forward to seeing you at the Museum!Sincerely,Douglas Sharon, Ph.D.Director
Douglas Sharon, DirectorMargaret R. Pico, Newsletter EditorNicole Mullen, Graphic DesignThe newsletter is published twice yearly.Copyright © UC Regentshttp://hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu
By Ira Jacknis
ost museums now have Web sites of some sort,which they use for many purposes: listing practi-cal information such as hours, staff, access poli-cies, and current programs, or offering curated presenta-tions of their collections. As museum media, exhibits havea fairly stable technology and form, while Web sites keepevolving. As the technology changes, much of what oncecould not be done, or not done easily, is now common-place.There are many similarities between the two media. Likefilms and books, both combine images (standing in forobjects)and words. Unlike those, however, exhibits andWeb sites have a non-linear structure. While exhibits mayhave a suggested path, in most cases the viewer determineswhich units will be accessed first and in what order, just asone can do on-line.However, there can be many differences between exhibitsand Web sites. Perhaps the prime advantage of a Web siteis its greater accessibility for people who cannot come toan exhibit. Furthermore, because it is not bound by spatialconstraints, a Web site can hold much more content. It isalso easier to make cross-references in cyberspace. As withfootnotes in books, one can readily find linked bits of information—sometimes of only supplementary interest—in a non-linear way. Exhibits are much more limited intheir ability to do this. On the other hand, while virtualexhibits may include more content, sometimes, as in our
site, they have less. Label text is almost alwaysavailable, but good photographs of the exhibited objectsoften are not.The most decisive difference between the two, of course, isthat of dimensionality. As a two-dimensional medium, theWeb is better suited for flat objects such as photographs orpaintings. While the viewer can rarely touch an exhibitedobject, one can often walk around an object and movecloser or farther away. Good exhibits also make use of paths and vistas, allowing one to see what is coming upand look back at what one has seen, relating an object toan adjacent object within an architecturally-formed space.Early Web sites were poorly designed in this regard, butdesigners are finding ways to replicate such previews andreviews. A feeling for the third dimension in cyberspacecan be suggested by using multiple views, so that one canzoom in and out, or more recently, around, through digi-tized video. Still, these take more computer memory andbandwidth and so are not common. Another problem,inherent in publications as well, is the difficulty of indicat-ing size and scale, especially if one is dealing with astrange, foreign object. Not all pictures include rulers.Finally, and most mysteriously, there is the question of "aura," knowing that one is in the presence of an actualobject created by someone in a distant space or time. Wetend to perceive things with greater intensity when we usemultiple senses and our whole body, than through merevisual perception. These profound issues of being and exis-tence may be the most basic reasons we still have museumsof real objects instead of living in a complete world of vir-tual objects. As many of these limitations are not inherentin cyberspace, it will be interesting to see how museums of the future choose to present their collections.I
ra Jacknis is Research Anthropologist at the Phoebe A.Hearst Museum of Anthropology and recently curated 
TheWorld in a Frame: Photographs from the Great Age of Exploration, 1865-1915
 , on view at the Museum throughFebruary 2004. An online version of the exhibit can beviewed at: http://hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu.
carries a wide variety of items that reflect the museum collections and thediversity of world cultures. The store has extensive selections of jewelry, textiles, wooden and soapstonecarvings, musical instruments, puppets, and other beautiful gifts. Most are handcrafted by native artisansfrom different parts of the world. The store has a wide selection of books about cultural history andanthropology, as well as museum publications. The Hearst Museum Gift Store offers reasonable prices anda wonderfully unique shopping experience. Open Wednesday - Sunday, during regular Museum hours.(left: traditional Indonesian wooden puppet)

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