The Mount Hope Years

1968 - 2008

The Experiential Education Program of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University,on the Mount Hope Grant in Bristol, Rhode Island

Reflections from children, teachers, native interpreters, volunteers and museum staff

Joanna Coppola, Cindy Elder and Patsy Sanford

This collection is dedicated to the memory of Ruth Warner “Bets” Giddings, anthropologist, former curator of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, and a co-founder of the museum’s interactive education program. Bets was a kind, caring and friendly woman who imbued others with her love of life. When she resided in the King Philip House on Mount Hope Grant, near the museum, her home was always full of students, professors, people from many cultures, friends, little children — the doors were open to everyone. Her generosity of spirit inspired others to create and nurture a program which has touched hundreds of thousands of school children in New England.

Cover Students gather around fire in a 17th-century style wetu, a single family summer house of the Wampanoag people of southeastern New England. 2 3

Table of Contents
Introduction Barbara A. Hail Honoring the Past A Reflection: A Treasure for All Ages Rev. Edward “Ned” B. Gammons How the Experiential Education Program Came Into Being Taking the Museum to the Schools Bringing School Classes to the Museum A Reflection: Docent Days Sydney L. Tynan How the Traveling Van Led to the Museum Shop A Reflection: Leave Them Smiling Shelly Shatkin A Child’s Day at the Haffenreffer Museum A Reflection: A Personal Perspective on Teaching Based on an interview with Sharon Hayden A Reflection: Knowledge: A Gift to be Shared and Passed Along Based on an interview with Kathy Silvia

Partnering with Interpreters from Many Cultures Connecting the Past with the Present Jennifer C. Edwards Weston A Reflection: Strong Woman Remembers Julianne Jennings What’s In a Name? Alive and Well In Our Own Communities Liz Hoover Beyond Thanksgiving Nitana Hicks A Reflection: The Craft of Teaching Based on an interview with Ray Richard A Feast for the Senses A Reflection: A Passion for Storytelling Based on an interview with Vida Hellmann A Reflection: The Power of Engaging Children Joanna Coppola A Reflection: From Docent to Doctor Susan Patterson, Ph.D.

The Van Program Today The Community of Docents A Reflection: Friendship and Confidence — Gifts of the Docent Experience Monique Chaffa A Reflection: On Being a Docent Elizabeth Johnson A Reflection: Ascowiquasin, Netop Diane Rabinowitz

Appendix A Tribute to the Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum Education Program Highlights, 1973 – 2008 Docent Roster, 1969 – 2008 Education Staff, 1968 – 2010



Barbara A Hail, Curator Emerita, Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology When the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology’s on-site Experiential Education Program for Rhode Island school children came to a close in June of 2008 after 40 years of operation, its many participants—docents, museum staff, classroom teachers, Brown University interns and elementary age school children—wished to record their memories of its significance both to the community and to themselves as individuals. The result is this publication, which honors the many people who have contributed to the program over the last four decades. The reflections in this book provide insights for any organization seeking to maintain a vibrant and diverse work force built on a foundation of volunteerism. More specifically, this record of how the education program was conceived and carried out may inform other museums planning their own outreach programs, and thus continue the process of making museums and their collections more widely available to the public. For this was the purpose of our educational program: to involve our university anthropological museum in the lives of the greater community by providing educational opportunities in two ways. First, we sought to open the museum to school children on a regular daily basis with a variety of hands-on programs. Next, to expand our 8

outreach capabilities, we offered training to community members who wished to become docents, enabling them to both learn and teach about cultures different from their own. These volunteers included former school teachers, nurses, ministers, doctors, homemakers, business people and individuals from many other walks of life. Their common link was a desire to keep on learning, and a love of children. Joining the ranks of community docents were Brown University students who served as interns, some of them members of ethnicities represented by the museum collections. Other special knowledge was contributed by members of ethnic minority communities recently arrived in Rhode Island. The outreach program fulfilled a purpose larger than that of just caring for and preserving cultural objects. It committed the museum to sharing knowledge of these objects with others, some of whom were Wampanoag and Narragansett, Hmong and Vietnamese, African-American and Latino school children who were themselves descendants of the fine artisans who created the objects in the collection. The education programs were built around the strength of the museum’s collections and the specific expertise of museum staff, department of anthropology faculty, and Brown University students and members of Rhode Island’s ethnic communities. The initial program, on Arctic peoples, was made possible through the ongoing field

work in northwestern Alaska of archaeologist J. Louis Giddings, first director of the museum, his wife, Bets, and Douglas Anderson, director, Laboratory for Circumpolar Studies at Brown. These three spent many field seasons working with Brown University students at a number of Alaskan sites. After the education program began in 1968, these students were asked to look for objects of daily life that could be purchased for use in the program, such as birch bark containers, clothing, wooden utensils, fish nets, toys and games—all suitable for handling by children. The second director of the museum, Alex Ricciardelli, contributed his special knowledge of Iroquois culture as well as field slides and sources for purchase of materials, to make possible a unit on the Iroquois. The Inca program benefited from the advice of the third director, Jane Dwyer, a Peruvian archaeologist. I conceived the initial program for the extensive and important Plains collection of the museum, and it was kept up-to-date by numerous Brown students, includBarbara Hail with ing Jennifer Edwards Sioux star quilt in 1995.

Weston, a Standing Rock Sioux, who provided a curriculum that included current Plains cultural ideas titled “Beyond Cowboys and Indians” Director Shepard Krech encourages Brown University students to which is currently “think about things” anthropologically. available as a free teacher lesson plan on the Haffenreffer Museum website: The Subarctic program reflected the research interests of the fourth director, Shepard Krech, and of myself, and was supplemented by an exhibition, a catalog and a symposium which brought artisans from the Subarctic to the museum to teach in the children’s’ programs. The program featuring local southeastern New England Native people was of primary importance, because of the museum’s location on the historic homelands of the Pokanoket Wampanoags. Ellen Wilson, first education coordinator, initiated this program with the help of Narragansett tribal ethnohistorian Ella Sekatau and her husband, Eric Thomas, who became instructors in the first traveling van programs. Lyn Udvardy, who succeeded Wilson, and Patsy Sanford, associate curator of education in later years, were particularly knowledgeable about interpreting 17th century life at Mount Hope, due in part to their 9

strong connections to the Bristol area. A Brown University graduate student, Liz Hoover, of Mohawk/Mi’kmaq descent, and an undergraduate, Nitana Hicks, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, wrote the curriculum for the study of southeastern native people, titled “Beyond Thanksgiving,” which was used in the program and is also available on the Haffenreffer website. The African program was initially based on a large collection of objects of daily life from the Akamba people of Kenya, collected in 1968 by a Brown University student while in the Peace Corps. The student had bought an entire household of traditional objects—gourd dippers, log beehives, carved wood stools, beaded clothing—from a Kamba family who then used the money to furnish their home in a more modern manner—with metal bed frames and folding chairs, plastic containers, tin cutlery, enamel dishpans and store-bought clothing. The Akamba objects were deemed suitable for supervised handling by children in the experiential program for about ten years, at which point they were accessioned into the regular museum collection because they had become irreplaceable as objects no longer being made. To help fill the gap, Brown students Samson Ashamu of Nigeria and his wife, Leslie, contributed Nigerian textiles and sculpture for use; they also taught in the program. Less frequently offered programs included “Himalayan Peoples,” created in 1976 by Brown undergraduate stu10

its large corps of dedicated volunteer teachers. In addition, the Haffenreffer family’s annual bequest to the museum included a permanent category dedicated to education. With the help of state and federal grants for wider accessibility of museums, the creation of a permanent education staff position within the university, and the collection of fees from attending schools, the education program was self-sufficient, eventually able to pay salaries of additional part-time staff, ethnic assistants and student interns. In summary, the educational programs of the Haffenreffer Museum have, through many years, enabled the museum to share with the community the excitement and wonder of material culture created by people worldwide. They have helped us to fulfill our mission, to give back in some way to those societies from whom our collections have come, to share in the understanding of each culture’s artistic creations, to make accessible to communities all that we know about their own and others’ past and to welcome everyone, young and old, to join in its interpretation.

Brown student Samson Ashamu shows sculpture to students.

Sonam Denjongpa teaches students about his life in Sikkim.

dent in anthropology, Sonam Denjongpa of Sikkim (now absorbed by India). With members of the Providence Sikkimese Buddhist community in exile, he developed a two-month immersion program in Himalayan culture, including woodblock printing of prayer flags, sand-painted mandalas, song, dance and a Buddhist temple exhibit. Another student-organized program featured the Hopi people of Arizona. Graduate student Peggy Muir, niece of anthropologist Margaret Mead, created this in-depth look at Hopi life based on her field work at Walpi, an ancient Hopi pueblo. In subsequent years Navajo anthropology student Nanobah Becker helped to expand this program into the more inclusive “Southwestern Peoples” program.  A unit on Mesoamerica combined field work of

graduate student Margot Schevill and curator Giddings, addressing everyday life in Mexico and Guatemala today. Finally, Prof. Kenneth Kensinger of Bennington College developed a program on tropical forest people based on a 900-piece collection he purchased for the museum during his thirteen years of field research among the Cashinahua of Eastern Peru. Throughout, graduate students in anthropology were part of the training sessions for docents; in particular, David Gregg, Ann McMullen, Rochelle Rosen and Dan Odess offered a series of  docent-teacher workshops on the methodology of teaching anthropological concepts to children. Our small university museum of anthropology, with a staff of under ten people, was only able to create and sustain this long-lasting education program because of

Students learn the Hopi butterfly dance.


Honoring the Past
A Brief History of the Mount Hope Site The expansive fields, forest and hills which comprise the Mount Hope Grant in Bristol resonate with centuries of memories. Long before America was born, this place was home to Metacom, the great leader of the Pokanoket Wampanoag. He became known as King Philip during a period of intense conflict between English colonists and the various tribes which had long inhabited the region.

Scroll forward two hundred years, and this same property was being enjoyed as a playground for out-of-town tourists as well as mill workers from Fall River, Massachusetts, who lived just across Mount Hope Bay. Visitors arrived by steamboat and spent the day riding the carousel, playing baseball or enjoying clambakes and music in the dance hall which offered seating for up to a thousand people. The property took yet another turn in1903, when a large section was purchased by Rudolf Frederick Haffenreffer, Jr., the son of German immigrants. Haffenreffer became a successful New England businessman, and his country estate grew into a working farm. Over time, he added to his holdings until the property included hundreds of acres along Mount Hope Bay.

building, which in 1929 would become known as the King Philip Museum. Visitors viewed the artifacts by appointment, with guided tours given by Haffenreffer or by Yellow Feather, a Wampanoag interpreter living on the

Haffenreffer property. Among the most enthusiastic visitors were the local Boy Scout troops, who not only toured the site but were invited to hold their large encampments on the property.

On this land you will find King Philip’s Chair, a natural depression in a quartz cliff at the base of Mount Hope, where, according to Native tradition, Metacom held council meetings. Nearby in the Miery Swamp, King Philip met his death in 1676 after a brutal war which resulted in the loss Meanwhile, Haffenreffer Leroy C. Perry (Ousa Mekin, Yellow Feather), of some 3,000 members of local pursued a personal interest Wampanoag Chief Sachem and King Philip Museum interpreter employed by Rudolf Haffenreffer. tribes and hundreds of coloin collecting archaeological nists. Walk along the paths that and ethnographic artifacts—a traverse the wooded shoreline, and you will see species lifelong hobby with a particular focus on the Wampanoag of native plants and animals which have outlasted this and Narragansett Indians who lived in this region. Evenhistoric confrontation. tually, his collection needed to be housed in a separate 12

Eagle’s eye view of Mt. Hope Grant, covering hundreds of acres along the shores of Mt. Hope Bay; the center of Bristol is in the background.


When Rudolf Haffenreffer died on October 9, 1954, the King Philip Museum held approximately 2,300 ethnographic and 42,000 archaeological objects. In December 1955, Haffenreffer’s widow, Maude, and sons, Rudolf and Carl, donated approximately 350 acres, including the King Philip Museum and Mount Hope, to Brown University. The museum was renamed the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, and in 1957, Brown hired J. Louis Giddings, an Arctic specialist and the university’s first fulltime anthropologist, as the museum’s first director.

The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology’s Experiential Education Program, created in 1968 by Bets Giddings, Barbara Hail and Ellen Wilson, helped change the way museums introduced anthropology to young people. This intensely intimate and hands-on approach delighted students for four decades, attracting an ever-increasing number of docents (volunteer guides) to assist in the teaching.

preserve the memory of this highly effective program. This effort became known as the Mount Hope Years Project. Coordinating the contributions of many people was the project team: Joanna Coppola; Cindy Elder, a freelance writer and youngest daughter of Barbara Hail; and Patsy Sanford, who had recently retired as the museum’s associate curator of education. Museum Director Shepard Krech and Deputy Director Kevin Smith endorsed the project and gave the team access to space and historical records housed at the Bristol facility.

Before 2008 came to a close, more than twenty docents gathered for a potluck lunch to spark the flame of memories and continue the sense of camaraderie which had long defined the education program. Many contributed personal essays, letters and reflections to this collection. Additional sources were discovered through an extensive review of documents and photos housed at the museum. A significant part of this project involved the organization of materials relating to the history of the education program, from letters penned decades ago by enthusiastic students and teachers, to boxes (and boxes!) of photos.

Rudolf Haffenreffer, founder of the King Philip Museum, with items from his southwestern Pueblo Indian collection.

Photos and historical records of the museum’s education program in Bristol, now organized for future generations.

After Giddings’ death in 1964, his wife, Ruth Warner “Bets” Giddings, stepped into the role of curator at the museum. Bets Giddings, an anthropologist and author of Yaqui Myths and Legends, brought both passion and vision to her work, serving as curator until 1982. 14

In the spring of 2008, when the museum’s Mount Hope facility had to be closed to the public due to building and fire code issues, the on-site education program was disbanded. A small group of volunteers, spearheaded by retired docent Joanna Coppola, recognized the need to
Docents and education staff gather at docent Josephine Pansa’s retirement party in 1998.


These papers, photographs, film and other materials are now preserved in a Mount Hope Years Education Collection for the use of future researchers looking for greater detail regarding this remarkable program. Former docent Sharon Hayden assisted Coppola with interviews and helped to organize docent gatherings which drew other former docents into the project. Elder drew on these interviews and the museum archives to compose articles for this collection, with valuable editorial oversight by Hail, Coppola and Sanford. Ellen Wilson joined Hail and Coppola for a wonderful afternoon reviewing photos, shedding light on important elements of the program which might otherwise have been forgotten. Lucy Buckley, one of the most active and long-term members of the Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum, shared her scrapbooks which lovingly chronicled thirty years of museum programs. Museum staff member Rip Gerry scanned dozens of archival photos, and Curator of Programs and Education Geralyn Hoffman provided access to current program materials. Many other docents, staff members and interpreters, both current and former, contributed to this collection along the way. The research, writing and production of The Mount Hope Years represent a volunteer effort spanning nearly two years. Printing and distribution of this booklet was made possible by an anonymous donation following a presentation by the project team to the Friends of the Haffenref16

fer Museum in 2009. The project team considers this collection a gift to the future—to those seeking to build truly fine educational programs with a vital foundation of volunteerism. Furthermore, this booklet is offered as an honor gift to the past—to those who invested their time, love, wisdom and energy to teach young people about the diverse and wonderful world we inhabit.

A Child’s Reflection
“The tipi was warm inside. They showed us things the Indians made and how they made them. We learned how to play a game. We learned how to make rings and head bands. One of the ladies told us how King Philip died and where he died. We learned three Indian dances.” — Loraine, elementary student, 1970

A Docent’s Reflection
“To connect with nature, to feel the sacredness of this land and share this experience in the context of teaching school children about the cultural history and traditions of indigenous peoples, was truly a gift to me. Being a docent enabled me to feel the connection of my soul with the Wampanoag heritage that is a small, but valuable part of me. It gave me an opportunity to openly revere that and pass it on to the school children, some of whom could also see their native heritage come alive for them, while their classmates developed a new and accepting appreciation for all peoples.” — Elaine Gennari, docent


A Reflection

A Treasure for All Ages
By Rev. Edward “Ned” B. Gammons

As a parish minister, I did a great deal of teaching. Upon my retirement in 2001, I looked forward to the chance to teach again as a docent for the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. The added attraction of the connection to King Philip, who had interested me for years, was too much to pass up. The experience exceeded my expectations. I loved sharing the rich program with youngsters, most of whom were receptive and enthusiastic. I appreciated contact with other docents, whose warmth brightened my days, and from whom I learned much. The whole museum setting—its buildings and grounds—was a delight for all the senses. When I think about the children, their involvement and their learning, I wonder if the chief value for them lies less in the organization of detailed knowledge of native cultures, and more significantly in a dawning apprehension of what a culture means: one’s own, another’s, how these compare, and the chance (not always taken, to be sure) to reflect on the values of our culture, such as society and family. For many years, the Haffenreffer Museum has been a landmark in the East Bay. The collections it houses are 18

extraordinary, a marvelous resource for anthropologists, historians and the general public. Over the years, countless young people have come to the Haffenreffer and left with a new vision and understanding of how people live, of how cultures differ and how we are related. Ned Gammons The dialogue between staff, docents and school children has kindled a lively interest and curiosity. Ever since I moved to Rhode Island, the Haffenreffer Museum and property have been among the most rewarding and stimulating aspects of my life. Three things have been constant in my experience. Friends and relatives, when we take them to the Haffenreffer, have marveled at its excellence. School children have learned and grown, many times in ways not possible in the classroom. I have learned much more than information; this, with fellow docents, has been an awakening. Other adults need the experience. To be a docent was infinitely more than a part-time job for one of retirement age. It was a great adventure, all

the more so because of the great resources: the place— Philip’s own! The museum—full of wonders. The people—companions in adventure. I always pondered the possible expansion and development of the program, thinking we had but laid the foundation of a mighty enterprise in learning. Now that it is gone, I can still give thanks to have been allowed a small part in this delightful enterprise.

Interior of log cabin used as an example of a fish or bush camp for the programs, Native Peoples of the Arctic and Native Peoples of the Sub-Arctic.


A Child’s Reflection
“I had a wonderful time at Haffenreffer. The log cabin was so lifelike. I never knew what toys the Eskimos had but they do have a lot of fun with them and so did we. Two of my favorite animals are the fox and the wolf. When I found out there were arctic foxes and wolves it was very exciting and fun to learn more about their habitat and life. It was nice to see how people learned to adapt to the type of weather up there in the Arctic by making warm parkas out of animal skins. I learned about what baleen is used for and that they also live in tents.” — Catherine, elementary student, 1995

A Docent’s Reflection
“The road to the museum changed with each season, and this started your day’s experience … a chilly fall morning, sitting in the wetu, just waiting for the children to arrive, the smell of the fire and a moment of solitude. It was a program that opened all your senses … the smell of jonny cakes cooking, the voices of the children or the beating of the drum. I believe the museum program in Bristol left many children and adults with everlasting memories.”

— Joyce Cullen, docent



How the Experiential Education Program Came Into Being
The year is 1968. Look down at the grassy hillside. You will see three women sitting on a rock, immersed in conversation. Between them and the shores of Mount Hope Bay, the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology rises quietly from the earth; a low, flat-roofed building housing thousands of archaeological and ethnographic artifacts. It is a perfect spring morning in Bristol, Rhode Island, with the sun glistening off the bay. The conversation becomes animated as Bets Giddings begins thinking aloud with her friends and co-workers, Barbara Andrews and Ellen Wilson. What if the children could actually touch the artifacts? What if they could dance, sing, feel the magic of this place? This is how it all began.

research museum, with permanent exhibits viewed most often by Brown graduate students in Arctic archaeology. On the few occasions when school children visited, they soon became disinterested and glassy-eyed as they stared at the display cases.

The three women experienced an epiphany in 1968 while working on a program for Brown alumni. To stimulate discussion, they decided to take items out of storage and place them on the table for people to touch. It was a great success.

Bets Giddings (in light colored suit) hosts a group of Brown University alumnae.

Archaeologist and Arctic specialist J. Louis Giddings, first director of the Haffenreffer Museum.

museum’s collection by writing articles for local newspapers and went on to lead the museum’s traveling van program, taking the education program to thousands of children throughout the region. She also created the Haffenreffer Museum gift shop. Barbara Andrews Hail joined the staff as a part-time educator in 1968; previously, she had been a history teacher working on her doctoral degree at Columbia University. Through the years, she had spent summers at a family home in Wyoming and had begun the study of the traditional bead, quill and paint art of Crow, Cheyenne and Lakota people. Over the course of her 35-year history with the museum, she went on to serve as curator and deputy director.

Through the mid-twentieth century, most major museums expected their visitors to observe exhibits in glass cases or from a distance, behind a sign that read, “Please do not touch.” Children quickly grew bored as they walked from case to case in library-like quietness. When Bets Giddings became curator of the Haffenreffer Museum in 1964, the facility functioned primarily as a 22

Eager to create a more direct and personal museum experience, Giddings began to seek talented people to work with her to bring change. Her characteristic optimism and a desire to empower others in their work inspired the development of a program that would deliver an engaging experience for people of all ages. Ellen Wilson, Giddings’ neighbor, joined the staff in 1967 as a secretary but quickly moved into a role better suited to her skills as a writer and educator. She publicized the

Students grind corn using Northwest Indian-style log mortar and wooden pestle in 1998.


“That was the beginning of the hands-on approach,” said Hail. “We all looked at each other and said, ‘This would be a way we could reach children.’ We all felt we had to make the museum available to school children, who were not being served. Here we had a beautiful historic site, we had a collection, we had a room available for children’s learning activities, and we had three eager people who wanted to bring the collection and the children together.” The result would be the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology’s on-site Experiential Education Program, spanning 40 years, which allowed children to touch, feel, hear and taste their museum experience, rather than simply observing it through panels of glass. At its height, the program served more than six thousand children a year, who either traveled to the museum or received classroom visits from the traveling van program. The on-site program dissolved in 2008 with the closing of the Bristol facility, but the traveling van program continues to serve children in their schools. The trio of Giddings, Hail and Wilson designed a groundbreaking program that would be mirrored by other museums around the country. In addition, their sheer enthusiasm for the project attracted a host of volunteer teachers, known as “docents.” The program has benefited from the contributions of more than 85 docents over its 40-year history.

Ellen Wilson teaches a student how to make a corn husk doll during a visit to a classroom.



A Teacher’s Reflection
“We can teach about archaeology and its importance, but it is not the same as experiencing a bit of it. It was more than I anticipated. The students really enjoyed themselves and learned a great deal.” — Grade 6 teacher, Cranston, 2008

A Child’s Reflection
“Thank you for the interesting trip. I loved it! The thing I liked best was the wigwam, and the food. I loved the game. I might try it at home. I like the purse I bought. It’s nice! My mother likes it too! It was fun making necklaces. I loved the stories. The masks look nice. I hope I can go there again. It’s fun chopping the burls off. I really had a good time.” — Terri, elementary student, 1972

A Docent’s Reflection
“I’ll never forget having a child wrap their arms around my waist in a great hug telling me how much they loved being at Haffenreffer. I also loved learning from experts about another culture in a university setting, touching real artifacts on a real site.” — Anne Teifeld, docent



Taking the Museum to the Schools
The education program took to the road in the spring of 1968, with the idea of bringing the museum’s bounty directly to children in their classrooms. Bets Giddings, Barbara Hail and Ellen Wilson decided that outreach at the schools should precede museum-based programs, so they loaded up their station wagons with artifacts and headed out.

“Bets had always lived close to American Indian arts, having grown up in the Southwest where Apache baskets and Zuni pots were among the decorations in her home,” explained Hail. “She did not have the sort of reverence for objects that we all have today. She felt it was perfectly all right to handle original artifacts.” However, due to a growing awareness of the irreplaceable nature of many objects, the education program soon transitioned to using replicas and reproductions rather than original artifacts. From the program’s earliest days, it was clear they were on the right path. The eagerness of children to learn, touch and ask questions had been stimulated by the museum’s visits to the schools.

The program was quickly embraced by area teachers, who responded with enthusiasm to the prospect of bringing their students to the museum’s beautiful site in Bristol. With significant program growth looming, the need for more educators became apparent. In the fall of 1968, the Haffenreffer welcomed its first docent, Dorothy Dugdale, a friend of Giddings who would go on to found the Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum, which continues to support museum programs to this day.

The Arctic program was the first to be shared with students, reflecting Giddings’ intense interest in Arctic archaeology and the museum’s growing collection of Arctic artifacts. Brown University graduate students in archaeol“We were all educators,” said ogy frequently visited Wilson. “We wanted to make the Western Arctic and it a fun experience with a foThe “barn,” heart of the education program. returned with materials cus the children could relate for the education program. to and get excited about.” The traveling program enabled children to see and touch The next logical step was to bring the program home to real artifacts, bringing them closer to cultures they had Mount Hope, where students could do more than touch previously studied only in books. objects—they could breathe the air and walk in the footsteps of the Wampanoag people of long ago. 28

Dorothy Dugdale teaches students how to scrape a deer hide in an unheated barn classroom.

An important gift from the Haffenreffer family at this time enabled the museum to renovate the barn annex, providing for offices, a photographic dark room, the Laboratory for Circumpolar Studies and a classroom to house the budding education program. 29

Bringing School Classes to the Museum
In the fall of 1968, the Gordon School in East Providence—an independent school founded on the principles of learning by doing—became the first school to bring students to Mount Hope for a day of hands-on museum education.

“I still remember lighting the stone seal oil lamp for the Arctic program in the Tribal Arts Room with objects all around. We were wearing parkas, and the children were sitting in the room around the stone lamp,” recalls Barbara Hail. The following spring would see an infusion of docents, some of whom would remain with the program for decades. Barbara Greenwald became the Haffenreffer’s most senior docent, serving until her death in 1999; she
Barbara Greenwald applying the finishing touches to a clay pot she made during a docent training session. After her death in 1999, the Board of the Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum established the Barbara Greenwald Memorial Arts Program, which supports programs that honor her keen insights into the way children learn by doing.

A new director, Alex Ricciardelli, joined the Haffenreffer in 1969 at a time when the education program was just beginning to unfold. He ensured the program received seed money to buy supplies, and he contributed to the program with his sweat equity, as well. “Alex was extremely supportive,” Hail said. “He believed in learning by doing—he was a field person. We have pictures of him standing high on a ladder, making our first

also was a founding member and past president of the Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum. Lyn Udvardy began as a docent and followed in Ellen Wilson’s footsteps as the museum’s education coordinator, eventually leading the traveling van program as well. They were joined by Anna Sides, MaryAlice Nace, Pat Sisson and Pat Kornhouser, who together with Dorothy Dugdale became the first group of museum docents. “As a new docent coming in, I was thrilled to be in such close contact with the objects,” said Udvardy, an artist and alumna of the Museum School at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. “It was very exciting to learn about other cultures in a new setting.”

Docents and staff place poles in preparation for pitching the tipi, led by Rod Pacheco, Mt. Hope Grant Manager, friend and helper to the education program.

Barbara Hail introduces the Arctic Program to students surrounding a stone lamp.

Tipi in place; the tipi and lodge pole pines were purchased from western sources.



wetu [a round bark or cattail-covered dwelling used by 17th century Wampanoag people], which was located in an upper field on the museum grounds. He was actively working with us. It was more than just financial support—he believed in the program. I don’t think we could have done it without him.” During this same period, a tipi made its first appearance on the site. “I had my engagement party in the tipi in 1969,” said Hail. “The party was really all docents and museum staff.” That was the year when Hail, known previously as Barbara Andrews, married Edward G. “Ted” Hail, a dean at Brown University who would become a longterm member and ardent supporter of the Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum. Armed with supplies, a wetu, a tipi and a team of energetic docents, the next step was docent training to ensure a richly informative and exciting program. Ricciardelli, Giddings, Hail and Wilson played active roles in educating the docents. In addition, they invited members of Brown’s anthropology department to speak and began a tradition of regular docent field trips to important sites such as Plimoth Plantations, a living history museum in Massachusetts. In the early days, docents chose to participate in either the traveling program or the on-site programs. Those who chose to travel did so in their own cars. The team 32

designed an ever-expanding array of individual programs, representing the indigenous people of the North American Plains, Subarctic, Northeast and Southwest, and of Mexico, Peru, East and West Africa and the Himalayas. “In the first few years, our on-site programs were overly ambitious,” Hail admits. “We thought we could present a Plains program, an African program and an Arctic program all in one morning, and then do something different in the afternoon. No problem. And we did. A school would call up—if they wanted Peru, they got Peru.” Active involvement in museum education sparked delight not only in students but in adults. During her first visit to the museum in 1971, Patsy Sanford was struck by the sight of her sister, a docent, teaching children to dance.

“They used to dance on the hill north of the museum,” said Sanford, who began as a docent and went on to become associate curator of the education program during her 35-year history with the museum. “Before I knew it, I was teaching the dancing. I was surrounded by independent, intelligent women who were very clever in different areas. Every single day I educated myself by reading, watching, listening to the guest speakers and going on field trips. Knowledgeable people helping other people along—that’s how I learned.” In the early days of the program, the strong desire to transport children into a different sense of time and place led to the concept of role playing, a technique in force at Plimoth Plantations, where interpreters, both Native and non-Native, would dress in authentic clothing of the mid17th century.

“There’s no getting around the fact that children have a lot of fun playing a role,” said Hail. Sanford remembers the elaborate role playing which took place during the Inca program, a favorite with the students. Inside the barn annex classroom, docents recreated an Inca palace scene, complete with a reed boat in which students could “ride” across Lake Titicaca in imitation of the yearly gathering for the solstice ceremony. The children participated in a naming ceremony and decided on a name for the royal person. “Children are wonderful,” said Sanford. “They caught on right away, and they ad-libbed. I know those children will never forget what they learned about the Incas.” Over time, the staff and docents developed a deep sensitivity for portraying only those activities deemed

Fig 27 to come?

Students try the “reconciliation dance” of the Cashinahua People of the eastern Peruvian rainforest.

Fig 27 caption

Tall Oak, Wampanoag-Pequot interpreter, leads boys in dance in 2002.


appropriate by members of the culture or tribe they were representing. For example, when teaching dances, they focused on social dances, such as the Hopi butterfly dance, rather than those with a religious significance. “For the Himalayan program, Sonam Denjongpa, a Sikkimese student at Brown, recreated a Buddhist temple altar within the museum with a thousand offerings of water, flowers and rice. We felt comfortable that we weren’t overstepping bounds because this program was

led by a Buddhist from the Himalayas who wanted Americans to understand his religion and his culture,” said Hail. “We made red, green, blue and yellow silk prayer flags, stamped with prayers from a wooden prayer block handcarved by a Tibetan lama who worked with the program. They were mounted on cedar tree poles lining the approach to the museum. It was beautiful.”

A Child’s Reflection
“I liked everything. I like the thing that you chew on for a headache or a sore gum … and I got poked with a porcupine quill and it hurts … the yellow stuff was good and I liked the furry skin. It was all fun.” — Michael, elementary student, 1972

A Buddhist altar created by Sonam Denjongpa.



A Child’s Reflection
“The trip to the Haffenreffer Museum was the best one I ever took. How old is all the stuff there? Are seals becoming extinct? I did a report on them last year and learned that the biggest seal of them all is the elephant seal. Is that true?” — Sara, elementary student, 1995

A Docent’s Reflection
“The most satisfying thing, for me about being a docent was the fact that I would be expected to learn about different cultures before I could teach them to others.” — Robert “Bobby” Coyne, docent

Docent Bobby Coyne teaches a class inside the tipi.

A Staff Member’s Reflection
“These experiential programs reach all age levels and children of all abilities. Teachers have commented on the excitement their special education students experience when they get to touch real objects. Teachers of English language learners say the opportunity to hold cultural items helps their students better learn the content even if they have trouble with the language. The visuals help visual learners, the museum educator reaches aural learners, and the hands-on activities reach kinesthetic learners, those that learn by doing.” — Geralyn Hoffman, Curator of Programs and Education, Haffenreffer Museum

A Teacher’s Reflection
“Everything was explained so well. The students enjoyed the new ideas— prayer flags, sand pictures, etc. Please continue this program. I have always enjoyed taking my children to Mount Hope Grant. This is the type of teaching that is effective.” — R. Thomas, teacher, Laperche School, 1977


A Reflection

Docent Days
By Sydney L. Tynan I remember the year that each docent was given an artifact to study and research. Mine was an African mask, and I learned a great deal about how the masked people were responsible for keeping law and order in the villages. As it had a rather lumpy surface, I asked Patsy what made it that way, and she answered without turning a hair—“Oh, that is sacrificial matter.”

Long before I made my first trip to Peru, I played the part of a llama. My task was to show small groups how to braid rope to make the sling shots which Andean children were so adept at using. When we finished I would tell them about llamas and how they would carry up to sixty pounds, and if more was added, they would lie down and not move. The children would pretend to load me up, and when the sixty-first pound went on, I would collapse.   I truly believe it was Patsy Sanford’s cheerful, supportive and unflappable manner that made it all such fun and kept us coming back week after week.

A Docent’s Reflection
“Little boys loved the craft of beading; little girls were fascinated by war and fighting materials. One little girl eagerly told me she traces her family back to Montezuma. I treasured the early morning sights and sounds at the museum before everyone arrived—timeless and lovely.” — Anne Teifeld, docent

Sydney Tynan, docent



How the Traveling Van Led to the Museum Shop
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, museum staff and docents participating in the traveling van program showed up at the museum before each program, loaded heavy boxes into their station wagons, drove for miles across Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and unloaded them again at the end of the day. And then, in 1973, the Brown University Personnel Office held a contest, seeking creative ideas to improve the way people did their jobs.

At the request of the teachers at area schools, Wilson created a makeshift gift shop out of a rudimentary countertop in the van, featuring small items that children would enjoy. “We were reluctant to create the shop, because we wanted them to make something to take home using their own creativity–which they did–and not focus on buying something,” said Wilson. “But the teachers kept saying ‘this is part of the learning experience,’ just as when they go to the museum, they want to be able to go to a museum shop.”

“And that is the history of why the education coordinator became the shop manager,” quipped Wilson. “But that’s how it was back then. We all did everything. We did photography. We did exhibits. We did advertising. We wrote articles for the newspaper. We ran the on-site education program. We ran the van program.” It was a busy time, with all hands on deck. What Wilson found most enriching, however, was the opportunity to work with people from many different cultures, learning from them first-hand about their homes, their families and their lives. “The children also learned from being able to ask, What kind of food do you eat? What kind of holidays do you have? What’s your family life like?” said Wilson. “I think that’s a very important part of education.”

A Child’s Reflection
“I thought the Haffenreffer Museum was fun. It was more fun than most museums because you got to participate in the activities.” — 6th Grader

Eventually, Wilson opened a “I thought it would be great shop within the museum buildif we had a van that could ing which became increasingly take the material and people popular with students and into the schools,” said Ellen visitors. Carl Haffenreffer, a son Wilson. “If we had a van, we of the founder, collected items could pack it up, leave it for the shop on his annual safely locked in the garage, Ellen Wilson, Eric and Ella Sekatau, and members of the trips to Arizona and Mexico, and not have to drag boxes Brown University Provost’s office sit on the Brown campus and he donated funds which in front of the new van with materials to be in and out all the time. Next taken into the classroom in 1973. enabled Wilson to build up the thing I know, I had won an shop’s inventory. As word got award and $200.” The Haffenout about the Haffenreffer Gift Shop, African and Native reffer family was so impressed with Wilson’s idea that American traders began to arrive with goods to sell, and they provided funding for the purchase of a new van, the quality and variety of products–both for children and and the Rhode Island Foundation donated money to more sophisticated buyers–grew extensively. outfit the vehicle. 40

Museum gift shop in later years.


A Reflection

Leave Them Smiling
By Shelly Shatkin I learned about the docent program in 2003 (after retirement) through an ad in the Sunday paper on a snowy January morning. Cabin fever told me it was time to get out and do something, and with my love of archaeology and anthropology, I thought Haffenreffer would be a good fit. I didn’t dream of the intense training program Patsy Sanford and Marion Wingfield had put together. I had anthropology, archaeology and American Indians coming out of my ears after a few weeks. Over the next five years

I felt well prepared for the thousands of kids I saw. I loved to see the look on their faces after they came back from the walk to King Philip’s Chair and the excitement in their voices when they told me they actually got to sit in the same granite seat which he had occupied so many years ago. It made little difference to me which section of the program I was given to lead; it was the children who made the experience so rewarding. Sometimes they would come in with a look of boredom, especially in the upper grades, determined to hate the museum experience. It was a real challenge to get them to open up, but I can’t think of a group who didn’t leave smiling!

They became involved in learning and touching and doing, and before they knew it, they were hooked. Passing around artifacts in the powwow corner was always a hit. I usually started with the buffalo dung without informing them of what was actually in the package. There was a uniform “EEEEEW” after they learned of the contents of the bag and its many uses—fuel for the fire, baby powder, etc. After that, they were eager to learn what else might be in our bag of tricks. One of my favorite children was a seven-year-old boy who was interested in absolutely everything about Woodland Indians. At the end of the session, I asked if there were any more questions. Up went his hand. “Just one. Who was older, King Philip or God?” I miss the Haffenreffer, the children and especially the staff and docents. It was a great episode in my life.

photo to come

Shelly Shatkin, docent Students line up to sit in King Philip’s Chair.



A Docent’s Reflection
“I remember children being eager to touch the porcupine and its quills, the headdress, the sealskin, the sled, the walrus skull, the cradle board and Lone Dog’s Winter Count.”

A Docent’s Reflection
“The most satisfying thing about being a docent was making a connection with the children and seeing their enthusiasm—making native peoples ‘real’ to them. I loved taking them to the wetu. The setting in the woods with the changing leaves, crisp air and wood smoke was a unique experience for most children. — Kathy Humm, docent

— Kay Hughes, docent

A Child’s Reflection
“They had bows and arrows and a spear. You make things, you do things, you see things.”

— Mike, elementary student, 1970



A Child’s Day at the Haffenreffer Museum
The on-site program at Mount Hope enabled the museum to reach thousands of students in urban and suburban settings every year. Programs on specific cultures were divided into sections that highlighted distinct elements of the people and places they were presenting.

“When I saw the children getting off the bus, I would know the age, the grade, the teacher and the school they were coming from,” explained Patsy Sanford. “I might recognize the teacher and say to myself, this is a great group, or I might think, we’re going to have to work extra hard. I knew each and every busload was different than the one before it, or the one that came after it. By the time they were sitting down and I was talking to them, I knew who was there in front of me.”

use. What are the differences, and what are the similarities? And that’s what we’re going to learn today. These are the Athabascan people. This is the tool they use to cut up meat. Who cuts up the caribou meat in your house? You don’t have caribou meat? What kind of meat do you have? Who cuts it up? What do they use? Where do you get your meat?” Children would begin thinking about all of the basic needs which, in their own lives, could easily be met by visiting a grocery store or a pharmacy. They would have to consider how they would get their food and medicine if there were no store from which to buy them. To drive the point home, students would have the Students make an updated version of pemmican, a traditional chance to see handmade Plains Indian food. tools, like the hafted stone knife made by docent Ray Richard. “They would want to know how I made it,” he said. “After the talk they’d be walking up the path looking for rocks they could make into a knife point. They’d say, ‘Is this one? Is this one?’”

When Marion Wingfield joined the museum in 2002 as curator of education and programs, she discovered a program rooted in a genuine appreciation for how children learn. “The slide shows featured big, colorful pictures which gave the children a visual image of Native people in various parts of the country,” said Wingfield. “And here’s the key: the images depicted contemporary people as a direct and critical counterpoint to the common images of American Indians long gone.” Every child brings their own set of experiences and ideas about life to their museum encounter, and these ideas will shape what is presented to them and what they will learn.

Each morning at 10 Sanford would begin by asko’clock, a big yellow bus ing questions the children would roll into the mucould easily answer, to enseum parking lot, promcourage them to participate. ising an unforgettable “It’s fun to answer a question experience for the children when you know you’re right,” on board. The adventure said Sanford. “It gets the would begin with an introjuices flowing. And then I’d duction by a staff member make the questions harder.” or docent who would set the tone for the day. One program created by Sometimes the introducBarbara Hail during her tion would take place durwork on the Subarctic for Welcome to the Haffenreffer Museum! ing a walk to King Philip’s her book, Out of the North, Chair on the grassy pathway surrounding Mount Hope; introduced children to the basics of anthropology. “The other times it might be in the barn with a slide show. idea was, we’re all people,” said Sanford. “We look the This was a time to find out how much the students same in many ways, yet we’re different. We all have knew about the culture they were about to study. families. We all have a belief system. We all have jobs that we do. We have food that we eat. We have tools that we 46

“They usually have only the vaguest ideas about what an object is, how it came to be in a museum, or even what a museum is, exactly,” said Wingfield. “They also have difficulties understanding the past, because their own childhood, the very basis for their experiences, is so limited. Interaction is critical. If 47

Marion Wingfield, Curator of Education and Programs from 2001 to 2004.

there is to be an engaging and effective learning experience, we must address the place in between what the student knows and what the education program is trying to teach.” To make some of these concepts more tangible, docent Joanna Coppola created an enormous puzzle map of southeastern New England, depicting tribal territories as they existed before the arrival of Europeans. Students would study the colorful layers of the map which showed how the territory became divided, and how little was left to the people who had inhabited this land first.

reffer, where they were standing right now, where they had just been on the walk, a probable site of Metacom’s village grounds. After describing the fighting and the sad defeat of the Indians, we talked about Indian losses by having designated children lift up the big puzzle pieces, one by one, representing pre-war Indian territory. When all was lifted but a few small dots of territory, the graphic representation of what was left to the Indians after this devastating war was dramatic.” Coppola made many other teaching aids, including a giant paper tree representing trees of the Peruvian rain forest, and alongside it a much smaller tree representing one typical of New England, along with a human figure for perspective. Children were given pictures of animals and birds to place in the proper layer of the forest. In that way, they learned about various natural surroundings. “Making these concepts accessible and relevant to them was half the battle,” said Sanford. “Otherwise, it’s never going to sink in that we are both similar to, and yet different from, the people who live in the rain forest. We’re all people, but the trees in my neighborhood aren’t quite as tall, and our birds are different.” Other concepts which might be addressed in the introduction included the native plants they found along the path to King Philip’s Chair, or the politics of the people they were studying.

as dancing or role playing, while a third group would visit the museum, talk about the collection and participate in another hands-on activity. For example, the Native Peoples of Southeastern New England program showed both an historical view of the culture as it existed hundreds of years ago as well as a more contemporary look at the tribes who continue to make New England their home. One corner brought children into the world of a modern powwow, helping them to understand the food, the celebrations and the belief systems of modern day Indians of Southeastern New England.
Students learn about Wampanoag society as they walk the wooded pathway to King Philip’s Chair.

“We would ask them questions about their school to help them understand,” said Sanford. “Who’s in charge in your classroom? The teachers. Who’s in charge of the teachers? The principal. Who’s in charge of the principals? The superintendent. Well, that’s how it was in the Wampanoag territory. Each little neighborhood had a leader, and all those leaders met, and they had a leader.” Following the introduction, the class would divide into three groups, or “corners,” where they would focus on a particular element of a culture before rotating to the next corner. For each culture, there would typically be a “home fire” group featuring activities in the home. A second group would focus on a hands-on activity, such

A second group would visit the museum and see the 18th and 19th century artifacts that reflected a very different time. “This was a time when many Indian people of this region lived on the margins of society, and that is a hard concept for many people to accept, and it was hard to communicate,” said Sanford. “It was much easier to talk about the people who lived in the woods in their wetus, in the romantic past.” The third “corner” visited the wetu, a magical experience for docents and students alike. For decades, the docents would build a small fire inside the wetu, captivating the children with the crackle and sparkle of the flames. More recently, real fire was replaced by a faux fire of lights and paper due to fire regulations. Inside, tales were told and 49

Interactive map of southeastern New England.

“We would ask the children what they knew about Native people in Rhode Island,” said Wingfield. “Did they themselves have Native heritage? Do they recognize the places on the map? We told the story about King Philip’s War— how he lived right here on the grounds of the Haffen48

students had a chance to touch replicas of objects that would have been in a wetu in the 1600s. They ground corn and experienced the warmth of sitting close together inside this bark home, which was constructed by local Wampanoags for the museum. “It was such a cozy, womb-like place–so different for the children,” said Sanford. “It was like camping. Just sitting

there on those furs by the fire–you could have said anything you wanted to those children. You had them. They had more questions in there. They were just so excited.” “Located in a hidden, wooded spot on the grounds, the wetu was in the kind of place a Wampanoag family of a few hundred years ago might have chosen,” recalled Wingfield. “The water of Mount Hope Bay was a short

distance away, where fishing and shell fishing would have taken place, and where long coastal reeds would have been harvested and used for bags or baskets. Instead of standing in front of exhibits, kids sat in that dark wetu, smelling the fire, feeling its heat, looking at bows and stone arrows, handling furs, deer bone and other materials, comparing their own contemporary lives with the lives Indians led long ago, with the guidance of a kind and knowledgeable docent. This activity, as much as anything save a visit in a time machine, brought the past alive. Heat, smell, feel, sound, sight, interactive discussion—all are powerful learning tools.” As the day wound down, the students would reunite for a craft activity such as beaded bracelets, shell necklaces or clay pots. Many of these projects involved using a threaded sewing needle. For many children, this was the first time they had been asked to handle such a delicate tool. “It didn’t matter if it was a boy or girl making the bracelet,” recalled Sanford. “No one resisted, and they wore them willingly. I would tell them that if they learned only one thing at this museum today, they would know how to sew a button on. With a little help they caught on and could finish it on their own. I’ve talked to children from twenty or thirty years ago who still have their necklaces and bracelets.”

After the craft, the students would have a chance to visit the museum shop, and then they enjoyed a picnic lunch on the wide green lawns flowing down to the bay before returning to the big yellow bus.

The wetu used in school programs, public events and festivals, was built by Darius Coombs, Wampanoag interpreter at Plimoth Plantations in Plymouth, MA.

Sewing a beaded bracelet was an art activity in the Native Peoples of the Plains program. Children were very proud of the art work, some reporting years later they still had the bracelet or necklace they made at the Haffenreffer.



“I have to say, every single child who came to the museum was a good child,” said Sanford. “I loved them all. Some of them had troubles. I would try to reassure the teacher through my patter that it’s alright, he’ll be okay, or she’ll be alright. And most of the time, they were, because they had no idea where they were. They didn’t even know how they could get into trouble. And we kept them busy.” In many cases, elaborate props helped to create the sense of being there for the students. In the early days of the Arctic program, docents built a Styrofoam snow igloo which could fit ten children and a docent. They would squeeze through a fiberglass tunnel and huddle close in the igloo, sitting on chunks of “snow.” In later years, the docents created the illusion of a darkened igloo by turning off all the lights and creating a tunnel with their hands. Sitting by the flame of an oil lamp, the children thrilled to the gruesome story of Sedna, a universal story of the Arctic told in many different ways. In one version, Sedna was a young orphan girl living in a village by the sea. One year, the hunting was poor, and the village decided to move in search of better hunting grounds. As they loaded up the villagers into their umiaks (large skin boats), there was no room for Sedna. They rowed away, but she swam after them, climbing up on the gunnels. The villagers didn’t want the extra mouth to feed, and with no family 52

to protect her, they cut off her fingers, hands and arms as she struggled to get on board. She fell into the water, where her fingers, hands and arms became all the sea mammals, and she became the ruler of those creatures. Ever after, her people gave fresh water to sea mammals they caught as an offering to Sedna. “This Arctic creation story is an example of how people everywhere explain to each other how the world came to be,” said Sanford. “The children loved it. They would say, ‘tell it again, tell it again.’” The positive effect of this vivid, hands-on program echoes through the thank-you letters and pictures sent after the field trips, but it was equally evident on the faces of the students as they departed for home. “Just standing there in the doorway and watching their expressions—their faces were beaming,” recalled docent Sharon Hayden. “You could just see it. Or they’d say, See you next year! The joy was there. That was the most satisfying thing for me about being a docent.”

A Teacher’s Reflection
“In the follow-up activities, the children seemed to have almost total recall. In general, I would have to say that it was the actual experiencing that was the most meaningful.” — 4th grade teacher


A Reflection

A Personal Perspective on Teaching
Based on an interview with Sharon Hayden in 2009. Sharon Hayden had never taught children before, other than her own, when she signed up in 2002 as a docent for the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. “I was so intrigued by the ad in the newspaper, and there were twenty fresh new docents who showed up that day,” she said. “Marion Wingfield, Susan Patterson and Patsy Sanford were running the show, and they were very strict with us. They made sure we knew that we were in docent school. It was great. They taught us so many wonderful things, and it was all geared toward teaching children at a museum. All the veteran docents came, so we got to know them at the same time.” One aspect of training included shadowing experienced docents while they taught. Hayden took hold of this opportunity and shadowed nearly every active docent involved in the Plains, New England and Arctic programs running at the time. “One of the staff members asked me if I was moving in, because I was there so much,” she said. “I was like a sponge trying to take it all in. I learned so much from all the docents, little snippets here and little snippets there.

It was eye-opening for a lot of us who didn’t know anything about the teaching aspects of a museum.” Hayden found that she had to relearn much of what she had been taught about Native culSharon Hayden, docent tures. “What I had heard from other people in the past, or from watching movies on television, wasn’t always correct. We learned about what really happened and what it’s like to be an American Indian today.” The knowledge had personal meaning for Hayden, whose great grandmother was Cherokee. “This made me want to discover more about my own culture,” she said. Hayden found that, like her, some children were affected by their museum experience on a personal level and were particularly moved when they saw their own cultures represented in the museum collections. “I remember one little girl from Pawtucket,” said Hayden. “She came up to me and said, ‘Miss Sharon, I notice there are some things in the museum from my grandmother’s country, Gua-

temala.’ She was talking about the huipils (embroidered blouses for women). Her face just lit up because she knew what these were. This was her culture. And it was here, at the Haffenreffer Museum. It was just astounding to her. I’ll never forget that.” Laughter was always a sign that the program was working because the kids were feeling comfortable enough to let down their guard. The powwow portion of the program on Native Peoples of Southeastern New England seemed to bring on the giggles as the children learned Native dances. Even the older students, who were naturally more inhibited in front of their peers, couldn’t resist the fun. Even as an experienced docent, Hayden found that she continued to be amazed at the people and experiences she encountered at the Haffenreffer. She recalled meeting Peter Irnik, an Inuit artist who built an inuksuk (a geographic marker built of stones) on the museum property. “I had been teaching the children about the Inuit lifestyle for five years, and then I finally met someone who had lived in an igloo as a child,” she said. “He let us ask him questions, and he told us what his life was like. We still email back and forth, and every time he emails me he’s traveling around the world building inuksuit, explaining about his culture. It’s just fascinating.”

The inuksuk built by Inuit artist Peter Irnik.



A Child’s Reflection
“Today was a great day for me because I learned a lot about the Arctic. I learned that the wives hang fish up. I also learned that they build igloos with chunks of snow. They use huskies and a lead dog for transportation. How did you learn a lot about the Arctic? I also learned about how they used the whale’s blubber. The best part about it was when we got to touch the toys. I wish I could be like you people.” — Yaniela, elementary student, 1995

A Teacher’s Reflection
“This was the best field trip I have brought a class on. It was very informative and kept the children involved. Also, the day after the trip the school held report card conferences, and many parents said the children talked about what they learned all night! Many asked for the number to call and go on a family trip.” — B. Wheeler, Blessed Sacrament School, 1996



A Reflection

Knowledge: A Gift to be Shared and Passed Along
Based on an interview with Kathy Silvia in 2009. Kathy Silvia, an educator with 30 years’ experience teaching elementary social studies, became a Haffenreffer docent in 1999 after retiring from her work in the Bristol system. She continues to work for the museum’s traveling van program. “American history and archaeology were my favorite subjects,” she said. “I had been teaching it in the classroom, but this was so different. At the Haffenreffer, I experienced the fun part of teaching, without the responsibility of dealing with paperwork and parents. You enjoyed the children, and they enjoyed themselves. You could just talk to the kids. “You made food with them, you showed them games, you told them stories, you gave them knowledge, and they just ate it up. It’s hands on, they can look and feel, and they’re not afraid to ask a question. In a classroom setting, you get children who are afraid of their peers, or afraid of the teacher. At the museum, that doesn’t happen. They’re much more willing to respond to you and ask questions.”

The Haffenreffer’s education program provided docents with in-depth training, from field trips to presentations by visiting speakers and artisans. Silvia recalled a CashinaKathy Silvia, docent and van assistant huan scholar, Ken Kensinger, who shared his real-life experiences. “His enthusiasm became our enthusiasm, his knowledge became our knowledge, and his books became our reading material,” she said. Silvia incorporated the archaeology curriculum she had developed for the classroom into her work as a docent. Working with several members of the Haffenreffer staff and fellow docent Ray Richard, she helped to design “Dig It,” a hands-on program that enabled students to experience an archaeological dig on a small scale. The program included not only the science of archaeology, but reading and writing as well. “They built a four-square grid outside next to the barn, filled it with sand and peppered it with artifacts,” Silvia recalls. “We discussed the theory: What are we doing? Why are you here? Why are you digging? We gave them a hypothesis: Is this a 17th-century Wampanoag village? And

they had to prove it. We taught them digging methods. We talked about inferencing inorganic materials, such as coins. We showed them what a grid looked like. Obviously, this is not a sand box. We talked about recording methods and introduced them to the museum’s diorama,

to give them a sense of what we think this 17th-century Wampanoag village might look like.” The students would also walk down to the wetu on the museum grounds and examine the structure. Having seen the post holes of an actual wetu, they were better able to identify a possible post hole in the simulated dig site. After the digging, they mapped and drew the objects they found. They visited the Arctic archaeology lab to see how real archaeologists do their work. During this section of the field trip, the students were given a bag filled with broken pieces of flower pots, and they were challenged to reconstruct them. They would then draw the finished pot. At the conclusion of the program, the entire group would bring the artifacts they had found during the dig to the education building, where a docent would look at each item and tell a story about how it might have been used. “We tied it all together – this is where the wetu was, these were the post holes, this was a sitting bench, we found fish bones or chicken bones or a duck bone, and what does it tell you?” Silvia says. “By the end of the two-hour program, they came away with some sense of how the archaeologist actually comes to conclusions.”

Students search for artifacts in their simulated dig site during the Dig It program.



The Dig-It program developed into a week-long summer camp which enabled children to explore the wonders of archaeology in more depth. The program continues today as part of the traveling van program. Docents and staff now bring boxes filled with buckwheat into classrooms to represent the grid of an archaeological dig. Silvia notes that today’s public school students rarely get the kind of integrated, hands-on learning that was the mainstay of the museum’s education program. One such program, Culture Connect, helped students understand the differences and similarities between various cultures. “Seeing and touching real materials helped children get excited about learning,” said Silvia. “I would have a deer leg in front of me, and I would show them the sinew. And guess what, if you feel the back of your leg, you have it too, and so does the buffalo and the deer. So people used this because it was so readily available. And all the kids would touch the deer leg, and their own legs, and say, Oooh … They always loved the animals, whether it was a mink, an ermine, a red fox, a buffalo skull. They could feel them, they could put their hands in the fur. We could lead them toward understanding in a non-threatening environment.” Silvia reflected on the relationship of the docents with each another, one of the reasons she found docent work so gratifying. 60

“There was always this eagerness to learn, to become good teachers, to immerse themselves in the knowledge that they’re trying to give the children. Some lifelong friendships have grown out of those shared passions.”

A Child’s Reflection
“Going to the museum was so awesome! I wish I could work there one day. There was so much cool stuff to learn. The best part was when you could go inside the tipi, and pass around the objects …We all ate out in the
Kathy Silvia, docent and van assistant

beautiful yard. I loved going to the water! Me and Jackie collected shells!” — Desiree, Grade 5, 2008


Partnering with Interpreters from Many Cultures
As the museum’s education program grew, simultaneously the world around was evolving. The civil rights movement was changing the way many people looked at the study of world cultures, and American Indians were beginning to voice their opinions about how they were represented in the media, textbooks and museums. During this time the Haffenreffer became a leader in partnering with members of local Wampanoag groups and the Narragansett Nation to represent their cultures. In the early 1970s, the education program welcomed its first American Indian interpreters, Ella Sekatau and Erik Thomas of the Narragansett Nation.
Ella Sekatau of the Narragansett Nation was one of the first American Indian interpreters to partner with the Haffenreffer Museum in the education program.

studying. Jennifer Edwards Weston, whose Lakota name (Pte’ San Waste’ Win) means “White Buffalo Woman,” is Hunkpapa Lakota, from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, located on the central border of North and South Dakota. During her time as a Brown University student, she served as an interpreter for the Haffenreffer Museum. She helped children to see her as a real person, not a figure from a time gone by. “In addition to the powwows and cultural events I attended while growing up,” said Weston, “I also did a lot of things that other kids enjoy—I joined the Girl Scouts, went to the library, played basketball, competed in track and field events, went swimming, shopped at the mall on weekends and went to see movies.” Today, many descendants of the tribal people known as the Sioux still live on the Indian reservations where their ancestors were placed at the end of the ‘Indian wars’ with the United States Army, notes Weston. “Understanding how and when this system of contemporary land bases originated is an important part of learning about late nineteenth-century American Indian history and culture.” Interacting with Native interpreters like Weston made it nearly impossible to hold onto stereotypes of American Indians, which children were likely exposed to through movies, other media and even home life.

Julianne Jennings (Strong Woman) is a member of the Tottoway Cheroenhaka tribe and teaches anthropology at Eastern Connecticut State University and Rhode Island College.

Education Specialist Linda A’Vant-Deishinni conducting class in the tipi at Mt. Hope.

“We were trying to break down the stereotypes that were present and still are present in today’s culture and society,” said Barbara Hail. “We wanted to interest children in the diversity of people and their customs. We tried to show that all people are basically the same, but they also differ in how their customs grow. We asked local American Indians to participate in the program, so that children could meet contemporary Wampanoag and Narragansett people who live in Rhode Island today. We also invited Brown University students and community members of many ethnicities to instruct both docents and children in their cultures.” Some profound awakenings took place when students interacted with representatives of the cultures they were

“While students would not directly experience Plains ecology and terrain from visiting the Haffenreffer museum’s grounds along Mount Hope Bay, you could experience a tipi, taste an updated recipe of a traditional Lakota food, learn about stories still told among Lakota people and try a simple craft activity,” said Weston. “The program enriched students’ understanding of the Lakota and other American Indian and Indigenous Peoples, and provided links to the social studies standards used in Rhode Island.” Members of immigrant communities taught on a regular basis in the education program. Enoch Faminu, a Nigerian art teacher, came to Rhode Island to pursue an advanced degree at the Rhode Island School of Design and helped to support himself by teaching in our program. He carved 63


two Yoruba ibeji (twin) figures from cedar trees found on the Mount Hope property and painted numerous scenes of the daily activities of his Nigerian village. These became a permanent part of the traveling van program on African art. This very popular program, taught for many years by Programs Specialist Lyn Udvardy, also featured Zewde Tefera of Ethiopia and Baboucar Jobe of the Gambia as interpreters of their own culture. Education Specialist Linda A’Vant-Deishinni worked both in the traveling van program and the on-site programs.

She would make students aware that their school and homes were once the land of the Narragansett people. “I also let them know that I am an African American with American Indian roots,” said A’Vant-Deishinni. “This makes students feel comfortable expressing their own heritage. I enjoy seeing their faces light up with a sense of pride. In many of the schools, teachers and staff of Native descent visit during my presentation. Many are very proud to share their culture. This gives me an opportunity to teach students to respect Native culture. When we create this safe environment for students, they proudly acknowl-

edge their backgrounds and contribute experiences to the discussion. Many classrooms are very diverse in Providence, and the students have much to share with each other.”

Linda A’Vant-Deishinni interprets Wampanoag life, past and present, while sitting in King Philip’s Chair. Baboucar Jobe of the Gambia speaks to students about his village life in Africa. RISD student and Nigerian art teacher Enoch Faminu standing by his paintings of daily life in a Nigerian village. Gabriel Mongrue shows how African textile is used as clothing.



A Child’s Reflection
“I enjoyed looking at the masks and learning about how they used them in the dance. The second reason I enjoyed your museum is because I learned more about my country, Peru.” — Gustavo, Grade 5, 2008

A Docent’s Reflection
“The most satisfying thing for me about being a docent was sharing history and living culture with young people, and the camaraderie among committed docents.” — Nancie Merlino, docent



Connecting the Past with the Present
By Jennifer C. Edwards Weston This article first appeared in the Haffenreffer Museum’s summer 1997 newsletter. “Are you really an Indian?” “Most Indians are poor and live on reservations, and they drink too much, and the schools they go to don’t have books or pencils like ours do.” “Does your Dad hunt for food?” “What kinds of toys do kids play with there?” “There aren’t any Indians left today.” Questions and comments such as these, each spoken with the unabashed curiosity or absolute certainty of which only children are capable, remind me on a daily basis why I have always enjoyed working with children. No matter what the subject or activity, they are always the most inquisitive and responsive audience, and experiencing their point-blank honesty, confusion and wonderment is surely the most gratifying aspect of spending time with an age group inclined to fidgety whispers and giggles. My participation in the Native Peoples of the Plains education program has been both challenging and frustrating, but always rewarding, because every day, in trying to understand unexpected 68

perspectives and to unravel the complexities of our own assumptions, these young students and I have learned from each other. The vast majority of the children who attend the museum’s educational programs have no concept of how Native people live today, in the Plains region or anywhere else. Their classes have focused primarily on the past, reinforcing the common perception of Native Americans as vanished peoples or fascinating anomalies, rather than as a living, growing segment of modern American society and as part of a flourishing Native culture. Those students who are somewhat aware of the continued presence of Native peoples usually have not been challenged to think about how Native American societies have evolved into their current and varied forms. I have often felt overwhelmed trying to figure out how to speak to students when it is apparent that they have little or no understanding of Native people as a part of the modern world, and this is especially disconcerting when I realize I

might be their first exposure to any fragment of contemporary Americans Indians. I am uncomfortable with the idea that these students might see me as representative of what they perceive as an entirely different type of people when I can only speak from my own experience, but I know that at the very least my presentations give these students a present context from which to interpret the other, more historical sections of the education program. I speak briefly with the students about how many reservations were established, how some modern tribal governments function, and about ways in which language, culture and tradition continue to be passed from generation to generation. I tell them about the schools and communities on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where I grew up and about some of the celebrations and ceremonies that still play an important role in many families. As unnerving as I sometimes find their lack of knowledge regarding the modern existence of Americans Indians, I am more frequently startled by how quickly these students are able to integrate the images and information I share with their history lessons. I know from their puzzled frowns that the sudden juxtaposition of the present with the past is often a source of great bewilderment to them. But their amazement over the slides and video footage of Standing Rock quickly give way to questions on everything from beadwork, star quilts, and eagle feathers I show them, to the systems of education and government in place on reservations today.

The interactive nature of each of the education program’s activities enhances these young students’ learning in a way that no amount of class discussion or textbook assignments ever would. The opportunity to see, touch, smell and taste the history about which they have merely been reading, clearly provides motivation and focus to their classroom time as evidenced by their enthusiastic responses, and I am glad to have been a part of the museum’s busy schedule.

Jennifer C. Edwards Weston


A Reflection

Strong Woman Remembers
Based on recent newspaper accounts and reflections by Julianne Jennings On March 8, 2009, Julianne Jennings (Strong Woman) of Warwick was one of nine women to receive the Extraordinary Woman Award in Providence, Rhode Island. The award, which recognizes women from different ethnic origins, honors outstanding work in different areas of the community that enhance the resources available for women.

Jennings, a Cheroenhaka Nottoway Indian, played an important role in the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology’s Education Program. Over the span of many years, she educated children on the ways of her forebears, drawing them in with the beat of her drum, demonstrating basket weaving, and helping them to understand the lives of her people today. Jennings’ first experience with the Haffenreffer came not as a teacher, but as a student. Here are a few of her reflections:

“As a child, I remember my fourth grade class going to the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. I was so excited that my classmates were going to have an opportunity to explore my ancestors’ cultural heritage. I watched the expressions of my classmates’ faces as they ran their fingers through the animal furs, tasted fry bread and viewed all the woodland artifacts with reverence.” “Well, that was over thirty years ago, and I never imagined that I would return to the museum as a frequent guest lecturer and artisan as part of their education program presenting New England history and culture to children and adults. Some of the educational workshops I presented included basket weaving, leather crafts, nature camp and teacher workshops.” “However, my fondest memories are from the museum’s “Honoring the Harvest” program, in which I participated as an interpreter and artisan. Two hundred children and adults came for the celebration. In small groups, families gathered inside the wetu (a shelter made from tree bark). Within the wetu, I told stories, sang hand drum songs and showed Indian artifacts. I made succotash and roasted turkey and corn on the open fire. Everyone seemed to enjoy the afternoon. We closed the day’s activities with a friendship dance that included the children and their families, a dance similar to one my ancestors would have danced hundreds of years ago honoring the bounty of the harvest.”

Julianne Jennings teaches basket weaving to students.



What’s In a Name?
The language used to identify Native peoples has evolved over the last few decades, presenting challenges for museum staff and docents trying to describe a specific tribe or culture. At various times, the terms Indian, American Indian, Native American, Indigenous People and First People were considered either appropriate or offensive. Later it seemed that many Native people were comfortable with the word Indian, but preferred to be named by their tribal affiliation. “We took our cue from the Native peoples themselves, and from the Anthropology Department at Brown,” said Patsy Sanford. There often was a lag time of several years before the latest terminology trickled down to elementary schools, however, which made for some interesting exchanges with students and teachers. “With nomenclature, it’s a never-ending discussion,” said Sanford. “We had students talking about ‘speaking Native American,’” said Lyn Udvardy, “not realizing that there were 600 different languages.” In later years, the staff used a card game developed by docent Joanna Cappola to teach the children about the diversity of cultures grouped under the single term, Plains Indian. 72

“When the children came in, we gave them each a card with the name of a tribe on it, and they had to say the name of the tribe and then sit on the floor,” said docent Sharon Hayden. “They were astounded by how many tribes there were in the Plains, and so were the docents.”

A Child’s Reflection
“I really enjoyed your presentation. From you, I learned about how different everyone’s houses and cultures are.” — Kevin, Grade 5, 2008

A Child’s Reflection
“Hi. Remember me? I enjoyed the banana soup and fossil. What was the recipe? Can you mail it to me and my classmates? Have you ever found a real arrowhead?” — Kenneth, elementary student, 1996
Carolyn “Lyn” Udvardy, Programs Specialist, teaching in classroom during a van visit.


Alive and Well in Our Own Communities
By Liz Hoover This article first appeared on the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology’s website. Liz Hoover worked as a museum proctor at the Haffenreffer Museum while studying for her doctoral degree in anthropology at Brown University. Along with assisting in the conservation of objects and the assembling of new exhibits, she assisted the education department as an interpreter and, with her friend Nitana Hicks, helped to write the curriculum for the museum’s program on the Native Peoples of Southeastern New England. As a Native person from the Northeast (my family is Mohawk and Mi’kmaq), I was especially interested in making sure that students who came to the Haffenreffer left with a better understanding of who Native people were historically and are currently. Many of the educational materials which students are exposed to affiliate Native people with historic events like “the first Thanksgiving,” but do not attempt to link these historic Natives with today’s contemporary Native communities. I wanted to create a museum education curriculum that would make this connection. I am fortunate to have a friend named Nitana Hicks from the Mashpee Wampanoag community, who was also a 74

Brown student at the time. Since the Haffenreffer is situated on historically Wampanoag territory, I decided to tell four hundred years of Wampanoag history through the narrative of Nitana’s family. I felt it was best to begin in the present so that the students could get to know Nitana, and then see how the men and women of each century connect to her. Through her story, students came to understand the lifestyle her relatives would have been living, the most influential historical events at the time, as well as focusing on an art medium that would have been popular. We provided resources for future learning, an activity for students to do further research, as well as craft projects relevant to that era. In this way, I think we succeeded in bringing to life local Native history for the students who visited the museum. I did a series of presentations for the students on the powwow, which is a celebration of Native culture through dance, music and art. These gatherings are hosted all over the United States and Canada by tribal communities, like the Mashpee Wampanoag and the Narragansett, and intertribal organizations like the Native Americans at Brown (NAB) and the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness (MCNAA). I have been a fancy shawl dancer for over fifteen years. This is a contemporary style of powwow dancing which

involves fast movement, and a lot of fringe and beadwork. To bring the students a little closer to what a powwow would be like, I would bring in regalia for them to see and pass around, like fancy shawl outfits, jingle dress outfits, and men’s grass dance and Eastern traditional dance outfits. I would demonstrate some of the dancing for them and encourage them to get up and try it as well. In this way, I think I helped them to realize that contrary to some popular belief, Native people are still alive and well in their own communities.

Brown graduate student Elizabeth “Liz” Hoover teaches students the circle dance.


A Child’s Reflection
“I enjoyed when you talked about the powwows. Guess what? My cousin Norman dances at every powwow at Foxwoods. Powwows are fun.” — Aja, Grade 3, 2008

A Child’s Reflection
“I wanted to ask you a question about the necklace. Do the colors mean something? I enjoyed making the necklace because we did work hard and I had a lot of fun. From your new friend.” — Naylah., Grade 3, 2008



Beyond Thanksgiving
By Nitana Hicks This article first appeared on the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology’s website. Nitana Hicks is a Mashpee Wampanoag from the town of Mashpee, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. She majored in Ethnic Studies at Brown University and assisted the Haffenreffer Museum in the development of its program on Native Peoples of Southeastern New England. Many people think that all Indians disappeared after the Pilgrims arrived. They are surprised to learn that I, as well as several other people in the community, am Wampanoag. At one time there were more Wampanoag communities, but today our tribe is organized into five bands: Mashpee, Aquinnah, Herring Pond, Assonet, and Nemasket. Growing up in Mashpee, Massachusetts, I liked to do things that every kid enjoys, like playing field hockey and going to the mall. But I also enjoyed doing what Wampanoag people have been doing for centuries, like going to clambakes and socials. I really love going to the Mashpee powwow every summer, a celebration my tribe has been hosting for over fifty years. Clambakes are usually held in the summer, when the ground is still soft enough to dig a shallow pit. My brother and sister dig for clams on the beach, and bring them to my father to cook. We bury the clams, and cook 78

them with hot coals or rocks. Then we invite friends and family to have a feast. The Mashpee powwow is held on 4th of July weekend. At a powwow, people from many different tribes gather to celebrate their Indian heritage. Drum groups, usually six to eight men gathered around a single large drum, provide the music for dancing. Native people of all ages dress in special clothing called regalia and dance around a circle in a clockwise direction to the beat of the drum. Sometimes there are competitions amongst the dancers in different categories. I do a type of dance called the fancy shawl dance. I have a purple and white satin skirt and a yoke and shawl that I sewed with the help of my mom. I also beaded a pair of leggings and moccasins to match the outfit, and some braid ties to go at the ends of my hair braids. I bought the beads from a vendor at the powwow. This type of dance is fairly modern, as you can tell from the bright fabric and the sparkly beads. My tribe is not the only group in the area that hosts powwows; I have helped coordinate an intertribal powwow for local Native organizations and for the Brown University student group, Native Americans at Brown. In the wintertime at Mashpee, we have a more traditional type of gathering called a social. Wampanoag people have been gathering for socials for as long as people can

remember. People used to gather in longhouses, but now we get together at a local community center. At a social there is drumming and singing, but in addition to powwow songs, we sing the Eastern style songs of our ancestors. For these songs, we use a water drum, usually played by only one person. People accompany the drummer with rattles, made from gourds or buffalo horns, while other people dance.

Brown students Nitana Hicks and Liz Hoover


A Reflection

The Craft of Teaching
Based on an interview with Ray Richards in 2009. Ray Richard’s lifelong passion for archaeology drew him to become a docent for the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. His interest was sparked in the late 1960s, when he had joined an amateur archaeological expedition at Assawompset Pond in southeastern Massachusetts. Later, while serving with the National Guard in North Carolina, he would use his time off to stroll through tobacco and cotton fields, hunting for artifacts. “I started volunteering in 1999 when I retired from work,” said Richard. “When I first went to the museum, I met a whole bunch of new people and really enjoyed them. That was part of retiring–the chance to focus on something I liked to do. I was learning from the students, the other docents, the training sessions and all the field trips.” He continued as a docent until 2008, when the on-site program disbanded. As a docent, Richard particularly appreciated the encounters with members of local tribes who shared their stories and wisdom. He learned about ancient forms of boat making during the museum’s exhibit on umiaks, kayaks and canoes.

“A craftsman at the museum was making a little dugout,” recalled Richard. “He was carving, and I started asking him about it. He told me all about how it should be. I told him how I had this Ray Richard, docent little tool that I started carving with and about the time I cut off part of my little finger.” Richard used his skill as a carver to create reproductions for use by the education program. Among his contributions–a West Coast style mask, a mortar and pestle, a harpoon head made of bone, wooden goggles used by kayakers and a model wetu. He created it by observing Native craftsmen who had built the most recent wetu on the Mount Hope site. Richard used trimmings from his shrubs and bark to create his model. He enjoyed sharing his craft with the children and served as “Dig Master” during the “Dig It” program, which taught students the basics of archaeology using a simulated dig site with a grid of boxes, filled with sand and seeded with artifacts.

“One season we worked out there, it was just pouring rain,” he recalled. “The kids didn’t care. It was like going down to the beach. It was raining, they were digging, everything was getting soaked. But it didn’t matter. They had a great time.” Participating in a simulated dig on an historic site seemed to boost the children’s excitement for the science of archaeology. “When they walked from the museum down

to the wetu, they were kicking the stones on the trail, looking on the ground for different things,” said Richard. “During the outside programs, there would always be someone coming up to me saying, is this an artifact? So I think they’re probably doing the same thing in their yards, trying to dig up the front lawn.”

Ray Richard demonstrates archaeology techniques.



A Child’s Reflection
I am simply writing to thank you for the wonderful impact your museum has had on my life. I am 17, but when I was a small child I visited your museum a few times. I was fascinated by all of the Native American artifacts which you had on display. Ever since I was able to touch and hold those artifacts, I have had a love for history–actually, it may be considered

A Child’s Reflection
I liked learning about a bow and arrow. It was so cool. And about a wetu and when there is an opening on the top and how when there is a fire you can open it on the top. The deer’s leg felt so smooth. — Tyrone, Grade 3, 2008

more of an infatuation. That experience really piqued my interests. I wish to keep American history and heritage alive. I am very interested in the Native Americans. Their culture fascinates me. Right now I am doing a project on Native Americans, specifically the Anasazi culture, and their basket-making, for my AP English class. My research has been absolutely fascinating. Perhaps one day I will be able to visit the remains of an Anasazi village to get a hands-on impression of where and how they might have lived. That is one of my dreams. I would once again like to thank you for whetting my appetite for history. Your museum gave me the dreams which I have today. I am thankful for your opening my eyes to the past world and preventing me from keeping them focused on the present. You allowed the love for history which was deep inside me to surface. — Kelly Shea, Barrington High School student, 1998



A Feast for the Senses
All of the senses came alive during a field trip to the Haffenreffer Museum. In the early days, Ellen Wilson’s son would catch flat fish off a dock on the museum grounds for the program, and the children would watch as the docents boiled fish in a Native-made wooden container filled with water and hot rocks pulled from a fire. The result was succulent, flaky fish that the children loved. “The wooden container we used to cook the fish in never dried out, because it was always being used,” recalled Wilson. “Just like the drum in the collection that we used in the program never lost its resilience, because it always had a greasy palm on it.” Freshly prepared food remained an important part of the museum experience as the program evolved, with children delighting in the chance to pound their own pemmican or eat freshly fried Jonny Cakes. Docent Vida Hellman recalled serving sourdough pancakes with salmon for the Arctic program. “At first they didn’t want to touch it. But I used to say, you pick it up, take your little piece of sourdough, place it over your piece of salmon, and pop it in your mouth. Now if you 84

want seconds, you have to use your other hand, because you’ve already licked the fingers on this one.” Slowly but surely, many of the children would experiment with this unfamiliar food.

A Child’s Reflection
“At the museum, we learned how to drill holes in stone. We ate some flat fish cooked like the Inuits would. Before going on a hunting trip, the Inuit would put on a mask so the thing they were hunting would want to be dead. They made sunglasses out of ivory. Their house was called an igloo. It had a special door so that it would not let the wind in.” — Tyrone, Grade 3, 2008

A Teacher’s Reflection
“The igloo and pretending they were Eskimos created a deep impression on the children. The entire presentation blended right into our current classroom work. The children were checking and verifying their own knowledge as they went through the morning. But also, just as important, they were experiencing the sensation of “being there,” which is impossible to get from a textbook. This was clearly demonstrated to me by the discussion, drawings and paragraphs written when we returned to school.”
A student uses an antler flaking tool, while the fire burns in the hearth in the center of the tipi.

— R. Lawson, teacher, Wilson School, 1973

A Reflection

A Passion for Storytelling
Based on an interview with Vida Hellmann in 2008. Vida Hellmann’s 30-year teaching career took her across the country, educating students from nursery age to college level, before she joined the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology as a docent, where she volunteered for over a decade. In 1990, she took on yet another career as a professional storyteller for adults. A native of Fall River, Mass., Hellmann earned a master’s degree in human development, counseling and family studies at the University of Rhode Island. But it was her experience as the mother of three children that Hellmann often called upon as a storyteller and a docent. “The first museum exhibit I experienced was a wonderful one called “Entering the Circle,” about the Native People of Southeastern New England,” said Hellmann. “In one section, the back end of a van protruded from a museum case; the van was open so the wares could be displayed as they would be at a powwow. That was ingenious. There was a wonderful folding display where you saw how Columbus viewed the “New World,” and also how the Native people saw Columbus’ arrival–two different viewpoints. The children were fascinated.”

Every docent developed their own style of teaching, and Hellmann was no exception. “Mine was the crazy kind of approach, I think,” she said. “I needed a hook or a gimmick—I always wanted that as part of my spiel. If you said something that was a little bit peculiar or funny or different, they’d remember that and relate to it. They might remember that it was fun.” Not everything went according to plan, however. “I remember one of our jobs was to make the Jonny Cakes,” said Hellmann. “Some of us did it better than others. Some of us burned them. Some of us couldn’t remember the proportions of the water to the cornmeal, and you had to get them done in a hurry and have them ready for the children to eat by 10 a.m. But we did, and the kids liked them.” One of Hellmann’s favorite aspects of this program included a large mural, hand painted by Lyn Udvardy. It was the perfect jumping off point for a story. She would focus on the pictures of a large buffalo, a man draped with a wolf skin and another man on a horse with his spear. “The man in the wolf skin just has a little bow and arrow,” Hellmann would tell the children. “What’s he going to do with that big buffalo? That buffalo’s going to trample him down!” She would comment on the beautiful brown eyes

of the buffalo, and then she would take off her glasses and point out that she also had beautiful brown eyes, but she couldn’t see without her glasses. “I would say, where are you, where did you go? I can’t see you anymore,” recalled Hellmann. “That’s the kind of eyesight the buffalo had, but there were no glasses for him. So he didn’t see the man approaching him, but he could smell the wolf skin the man was wearing, and he thought it was a small animal, because the smell was coming from lower down. That didn’t worry him, and that man crept up pretty close before he needed to shoot his arrow. Sometimes he was lucky. And it was all because the buffalo has a keen sense of smell but very bad vision. I used to love to tell that story.” Her goal in teaching was to ensure that the children remembered their museum experience in a positive way. “Maybe later in life, they would delve further because they would have happy memories of something fascinating. And that’s what I liked about being a docent at the Haffenreffer.”

Docents at Lyn Udvardy’s December holiday party (left to right) Mary Anne Munro-Thivierge, Vida Hellmann (standing), Mary Jerome, Jean Kestner, Emily McGuigan, Josephine Panza (standing).



A Reflection

The Power of Engaging Children
By Joanna Foster Coppola How lucky it was for me that the Haffenreffer Museum’s exhibit, “Entering the Circle,” opened in the fall of 1991. The exhibit was about Native Peoples of Southeastern New England from earliest times to the present. My husband, Joe, and I were new to Bristol, and when I read in the local newspaper that the museum wanted volunteer docents, I was quick to respond. Little did I guess how surprising and enjoyable the next fifteen years as a docent would be. The first surprise was how little I knew—in fact I knew nothing—about Native Americans’ lives from 1700 on. In our training workshops, we heard about it from modernday Narragansetts and Wampanoag’s who talked about their grandfathers and great-grandmothers. Ella Sekatau was at our first session and, as I listened to her, I realized she was the first American Indian I had ever seen in person. Finding out so much, in company with other enthusiastic docents, was delightful. Then came the challenge of passing that information along to school children. Each docent would work with a group of about ten children at a time. At first, I was primarily concerned with telling

all the information and showing all the objects. It took a while before I began to listen to the children and watch their reactions. Slowly I began to understand the power of engaging the children and making this an experience for them, rather than just a presentation to them. That of course is what Bets Giddings, Barbara Hail and Ellen Wilson put at the heart of this education program. I grew to love, for example, having every child grind corn. We would start with each child clutching several hard dry corn kernels while we talked about eating and enjoying fresh corn in the summer. A few children might try one of their dry kernels, but then all would agree they weren’t edible. That being the case, why did Native Americans in the early days purposely let so much of their corn dry up? Once we came around to “so it wouldn’t get old and moldy,” someone would ask, “But then how could they

eat it?” Each child in turn was asked to drop his kernels into our large concave rock and then pound them with the pounding stone. With their own muscle power, he or she actually made “flour.” A number of children could then remember seeing water added to flour and cooked in a pan. “That’s fun, that’s cool,” the grinders often commented. I enjoyed puzzling over ways to make abstract concepts concrete and, if possible, touchable. One of my favorites was a large canvas floor map. Though it was of Southeastern New England there were no states marked out on it. Instead, it was divided into large pieces of different color vinyl marked Narragansetts, Wampanoags, Pequots, etc. representing this part of the continent before there were states, before there were colonists. When a class arrived it stood around the map as Patsy Sanford oriented them. She’d ask one child to put a wooden marker where their school was, another to put a marker where the class was now, at the museum. She would then take the class on a walk up to the rock ledge where the Wampanoag leaders had held council meetings. She and the children talked about the interaction of the Native peoples and the colonists. When they came back around the map, one of the children was asked to pick up the colored piece marked Wampanoag. All of the pieces came off, with the excep-

tion of a small piece glued to the canvas. “This is Wampanoag land today.” Much the same happened with each of the pieces in turn, leaving only a few spots indicating the present-day reservations.

Patsy Sanford with students around interactive map of Native peoples of southeastern New England.

The class would then divide into three small groups rotating among three different areas. The first group would do things related to pre-colonial life; in the second they focused on Wampanoag life in the 18th and 19th century, and in the third group, they learned about the lives of American Indians in Rhode Island today. It was so interesting to be part of a program that helped children understand how cultures may change and adapt as they continue to exist.

Joanna Coppola helps students with a sewing project.



A Reflection

From Docent to Doctor
By Susan Patterson, Ph.D. For more than thirty years the Haffenreffer Museum was an integral part of my life. My association with the museum, its collections, programs and people shaped my thinking and my career decisions. I discovered the museum by chance. I came to Rhode Island to study at Roger Williams and had the opportunity to rent a room in the King Philip House in 1976, shortly before Bets Giddings left for Alaska to conduct fieldwork and collect artifacts for the museum’s education program. I felt fortunate to have the chance to get to know Bets a bit that summer. She was a rare and wonderful personality—warm, kind and full of enthusiasm for the museum and, in particular, for the still-new education program. As I was living right next door, it was inevitable that I would visit the museum. I will never forget the first time that I entered the galleries and saw the wide array of artifacts …wow! It was thrilling to discover a treasure trove of material culture in a small, out-of-the-way museum. I was especially taken with all that had been collected from American Indians. My knowledge of Native American cultures was limited, although I knew a fair amount

about traditional Woodland culture. Growing up in New Jersey, I had been an avid member of the Jerseyana Club, which explored local history beyond the classroom curriculum. The club had worked to create a wall mural in our school depicting Leni Lenape people meeting with early settlers. I remember researching local Native lifeways such as housing, clothing and subsistence, always believing that the eastern American Indian people were a part of history, and not the present. I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I when I came to Rhode Island, I did not know that Woodland Native American culture had persisted into modern times. That was not something we learned in school back then, and there was not a strong Native presence in my hometown or state. In a short time I would learn how incorrect my ideas were, as I was soon to meet and work with many contemporary Woodland Natives. I can honestly say that I never would have become an anthropologist if I had not started as a docent in the museum’s education program.  I began training to be a docent in the fall of 1976, and I was hooked from the beginning. I was an education major at the time, and becoming a docent was an ideal opportunity for me to get handson experience teaching elementary school children.  I marveled at the depth of experience a visit to the Haffenreffer Museum offered children. What impressed me most about the education program was that it took a rather untraditional approach. Children were not simply pas-

preciate their own culture as well as the cultures of others as part of becoming well-rounded, active participants in society. My first impression of the Haffenreffer’s education program was that it was structured to do that very thing, using experience and hands-on activities to teach children.  I was excited to be training to be a part of that. To me, few things are more rewarding than working with children in hands-on projects; when the topic is human cultures and the projects involve real museum artifacts, enthusiasm and successful teaching are virtually guaranteed. I learned a great deal about anthropology and various cultures while in the docent training program. The three most popular programs—Northeast Indians, The Plains Indians, and People of the Arctic—would adapt and change through the decades and become the heart of the education program. The Northeast Indian program offered a particularly rich experience for children, as it was contextualized by taking place on the actual land where King Philip and Wampanoag Indians had once lived. In the late 1970s, we had a magnificent opportunity to offer a unique program focused on the people and culture of Sikkim, a small, then semi-autonomous monarchy high in the Himalayas (now part of India). That program was possible through the efforts of Sonam Denjongpa, then a student at Brown, now, together with American wife, founder of the Tktse International school. The Sikkim pro91

Susan Patterson with a student at a mask workshop.

sive learners; the program gave children an active role, learning through experience and sensory immersion. Innovative educational methodology has always been of great interest to me. My high school, a small boarding school, based its curriculum on the educational teachings of A.S. Neill, who focused on non-coercive learning and hands-on experience. Furthermore, I arrived in Rhode Island having just spent two years in a Danish folk college where I had studied, among other things, the educational philosophy of N.F.S. Grundtvig. Grundtvigian pedagogy is based in experience and discussion rather than texts, and at the folk schools students learn to explore and ap-


gram offered children a hands-on experience and utilized native-made artifacts that had been collected specifically for the purpose of educating children. Children were always thrilled to know that what they were handling was a real native made artifact! After a few years I started working as assistant to Lyn Udvardy in the Van Program, presenting educational outreach in schools and assisted-living facilities. I was a certified teacher Sonam Denjongpa making a mandala sand by this time and painting with children in 1976. worked alongside Lyn developing the museum’s summer camp programs, vacation programs and occasional specialty programs through the Brown Learning Community, such as “Native Voices: Real and Imagined,” a Native American Literature course designed for teachers. One of our most successful specialty courses was the “Junior Anthropologist” program designed for middle school 92

students. Over the course of several days the young students learned about museum anthropology, collecting and display. On the final day, students had the opportunity to design their own small museum exhibit and interpret it for fellow students and parents, earning their “Junior Anthropologist” certificate. In my long association with the museum I found myself wearing various hats, from stuffing envelopes, catering events and conducting research, to giving gallery talks and even taking an active role in the training of museum docents. My interest in anthropology continued to grow. In the late 1980s, I began taking a few courses at Brown University. Eventually I matriculated to become a graduate student in the Cultural Anthropology and Museum Studies program. My master’s thesis focused on ways that elementary school curricula and textbooks presented the cultures of the local native peoples. Although my studies took up much of my time, Haffenreffer Museum always felt like “home.” Once I had a master’s degree, I was qualified to teach as an adjunct at local universities. In doing so I discovered that I loved teaching the “big kids” just as much as the young ones. Years of study and training had introduced me to many fascinating theories and ideas that I wanted to share, but these were too complex for young children. A commitment to college level teaching meant continuing my studies for a Ph.D. My children were still young,

and the rigorous program at Brown was quite challenging, but I stuck with it and after several years was able to go into the field for my doctoral research. I lived among the Tolowa, Yurok and Hupa Indians in northwestern California. The chair of my committee, Richard A. Gould, had conducted archaeological and ethnographic research in this region in the 1960s, and through him I gained access to the people who would be at the center of my research. I focused on contemporary identity, the Indian Shaker Church and the resurgence of cultural traditions, and received my doctorate from Brown University in 2002. Since then I have taught part-time at various colleges and universities. At present I am an adjunct professor at Rhode Island College, and I believe that I have found my niche: teaching a broad spectrum of students from varying backgrounds and various stages of life. Since I first became affiliated with the Haffenreffer Museum, many tribal nations in New England have received federal recognition, which has increased their visibility and helped to raise awareness of Natives within the larger contemporary society. Native cultures and histories, however, continue to be sorely underrepresented in the educational curriculum, resulting in the persistence of stereotypes and a lack of cultural understanding. My students often have only a cursory understanding of American Indians, their cultures and histories. Working here in Rhode Island, I have had many students who have visited the Haffenreffer Museum as part of an elemen-

tary school field trip. Without exception, students tell me that the museum visit has remained a high point in their educational experience, and frequently they retain vivid, detailed memories of that day. I am saddened that the students of southern New England will no longer have the experience of visiting the Haffenreffer Museum in Bristol, to participate in the museum’s education program while exploring and learning about the Mount Hope lands. I am grateful, however, that the program existed, that it served so many students so well for so many years, and I am especially grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of it.


The Van Program Today
Excerpted from an article in the museum’s Fall 2009 edition of Contexts. With the museum’s buildings in Bristol now closed to the public and schools facing recessionary cuts, the Haffenreffer Museum’s education programs have shifted to an exclusive focus on outreach programs.

The newly expanded Culture CaraVan takes handson learning experiences directly into the classroom. Schools, senior centers, afterschool programs and community groups choose from eight programs built Making the shift to off-site on solid anthropological programs was accomfoundations and using plished with support from objects from the educastudents, Brown Univertion program’s extensive sity’s administration and collections. Four programs external foundations. In exploit the museum’s Geralyn Hoffman, Curator of Programs and Education, 2008, Brown University’s traditional strengths in serves jonny cakes to students. Office of the President prothe indigenous cultures of New vided scholarships for 1,400 third through eighth grade England, the Plains, the Southwest and arctic Alaska. Two students from under-funded schools in Providence, aldraw on methods of archaeological and cultural anthrolowing them to participate in Culture CaraVan programs. pological inquiry to guide students toward appreciations Many of those students’ teachers found Culture Connect: for the human past and cultural diversity. 94

Two new programs rolled into schools this year. Indigenous People of Central America, developed in part by Met High School intern Kaitlynn Dulude, charts the experiences and cultures of indigenous Central American people from their roles in building vast pre-Columbian civilizations to their contemporary challenges and opportunities within New England communities. The second, Sankofa: African Americans in Rhode Island, initiated by Linda A’Vant-Deishinni, examines the cultures of West Africa, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the experiences of enslaved Africans in New England, Rhode Islanders’ roles in ending slavery and African-American lives in New England today.

Experience the Cultures of the World to be an important springboard for discussions of cultural tolerance in the classroom. In 2009, the museum purchased a new van with support from the FAO Schwartz Family Fund and the Haffenreffer Family Fund. The education department was given a satellite base in the Anthropology Department’s Giddings House that makes it easier to service the Providence community and integrate Brown University students into outreach programs. Culture CaraVan has benefitted from the recent involvement of many students from Brown and beyond, including Jason Urbanus (Ph.D. candidate, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World), Emma Maines (Brown, anthropology, 2010), Katie Perdue (Providence College, anthropology), and high school students Cara Boyd, Alison Bryant, John Mack and Lisa Mangiarelli.


A Community of Docents
Year by year, the Haffenreffer Museum’s education program grew its population of docents through a combination of training, field trips, mentoring and social gatherings which strengthened ties between docents, many of whom became lifelong friends. Many came to the museum with no prior knowledge of anthropology—just a desire to do something meaningful, to remain active learners or to engage with children in a positive environment. Others were teachers or aspiring archaeologists who brought their passion for a particular subject to their volunteerism.

Although the first docents came to the museum largely through word of mouth, later docents often discovered the opportunity through a simple notice in the newspaper. The next step would be an interview, just as if you were applying for a job, followed by an intensive series of training sessions to bring docents up to speed on the cultures they would be presenting and methods of teaching children to learn by doing. The learning became a two-way street, with staff supplying research to docents, and docents bringing in articles or objects they had found which seemed relevant to their work.

“It kept our learning as adults constantly alive,” said docent Joanna Coppola. “We all shared,” agreed Patsy Sanford. “It’s like a little plant—you water it, you feed it, and it grows. It produces.” In some cases, docents were asked to write reports on specific areas of study or a particular object, which they shared with the group. In this way, they learned from each other about the relevance of individual elements of the program. “You never really study something until you have to write about it,” noted Barbara Hail. “That’s when you start seriously thinking about a subject.” “The approach to teaching the docents was very much like the approach to teaching the children, in that they immersed themselves in it, and gradually, when they were ready, they started teaching,” said Lyn Udvardy. Experts in many areas frequently visited to bring in-depth knowledge to the docents. Peggy Muir, an anthropology student at Brown University and niece of the renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead, worked with docents to prepare a unit on the Hopis, with whom she had lived. Naturalist Millie House educated docents on the native plants found at Mount Hope and the uses they might have had for local Wampanoags. African Studies profes-

sor Peter Schmidt talked about the early Tanzanian iron smelting process he had come to understand through experimental archaeology. The museum hosted a steady stream of people from many tribal nations and a wealth of cultures, which provided first-hand knowledge of their history, struggles and current way of life. Increasingly, members of local tribes and Rhode Island’s diverse ethnic communities were asked to join the program as interpreters, enabling the children to gain a greater closeness to the cultures they were studying. Several African students, some of whom attended Brown University, were pivotal in raising awareness of African cultures among area school children.

Last docent recognition day, June 2008.

Docents and friends visit the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Museum at Mashpee, Mass. (left to right): Jean Kestner, Joe Coppola, Joanna Coppola, Patsy Sanford, Shirley Adams-Howes, Lyn Udvardy, friend, Terry Francis.



Field trips became a regular part of the docent experience. Visits to major museums around the Northeast gave docents perspective on the work they were doing and simultaneously strengthened bonds of friendship among them. “Our docents were highly motivated, dedicated, intelligent and independent,” said Sanford. “Our program would not have been able to get to its highly popular

status without them. Our docents were very willing to attend training–they often asked for extra training.” Potluck dinners held in the homes of docents and staff became a tradition which outlasted the program itself. Although the programs at Mount Hope no longer exist, docents continue to meet several times a year to reconnect with people who share common interests and an enthusiasm for life and learning.

Docents visit the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. in 1999 (left to right):Josephine Panza, Shirley Finch, Bobbie Coyne, Shirley Laroux, Terry Francis, Pam Meyer, Lyn Udvardy.

Docent and van assistant Josie Michaud with students in the Cashinahua program.



A Docent’s Reflection
Mary Jerome joined the docent program in 1978, after retiring from a globe-trotting nursing career spanning more than 40 years, which included service during World War II in Australia, New Guinea, Alaska and Appalachia. She contributed her skills as a docent for the Haffenreffer Museum for 20 years.
Mary Jerome

A Child’s Reflection
“You were real nice to us. I learned a lot more than I knew before I came to the Haffenreffer Museum. I loved the pancakes rolled up with salmon in it. Valerie didn’t want hers so I asked, could I have hers? She said I could. The game that you had with the sticks you put on the back of your hand was fun. I caught 43 sticks. The lady that worked with the games even saw me do it. This summer I am going to ask if I can go to the Haffenreffer Museum. It was great!!!” — Even, elementary student, 1995

Jerome developed the first formal docent training manual, whose concepts were still in place when the on-site program ended in 2010. Fellow docents benefitted from listening to her first-hand experiences while working in Alaska, visiting villages and families by bush plane. While in the Arctic, she collected many ethnological artifacts which she shared with students as she helped them to visualize life among Alaskan Eskimo children. “I thoroughly enjoyed being with the children,” said Jerome. “Teaching is great when young people are receptive and eager to learn. I’m glad I took advantage of the opportunity to become a docent.”



A Reflection

Friendship and Confidence ... Gifts of the Docent Experience
By Monique Chaffa Walking through the door of the museum, the children showed excitement and anticipation of things to come. Often a complete silence was followed by whispers as they looked around, overwhelmed by the objects they saw, ready to hear about them. In the spring, during the Native People of the Plains program, children gathered inside the tipi, thrilled to be able to touch objects and learn about early times. Young students were very proud to wear the reproduction of the great eagle feather headdress. Within a moment, they felt the importance of the role of a chief. During the winter months, the Native People of the Arctic program opened a new world to the children. Children listened to traditional stories in a simulated fishing camp. They learned a way of life quite unknown to them, imagining the long dark winter months where people lived in very close quarters in sod and driftwood houses. Children were fascinated by the stories, which taught lessons of how to be safe, how to hunt, how to build sleds and make harpoons. It was all fun when it came time to

demonstrate and play the games: all handmade toys of wood, bones or fur (balls, dolls, ring toss, etc.). They practiced their hand-eye coordination, important skills for this culture when children came into adulthood.

of world cultures. The building of friendships brought pleasure and the knowledge that my presence there was valued. The rewards were in the eyes of the children and the encouragement of the people around me. It gave me a confidence in myself that I did not have before. A native of France, it has been a long journey since coming to the United State, and I embraced this country as my own. I certainly never anticipated that some day I would be teaching the culture of Native Americans to American children–and not French history! Already I miss the times spent at the museum–its wonderful galleries, the walks to King Philip’s chair. I will treasure the memories for all time to come.

Monique Chaffa, docent

I introduced them to the person behind it all: Mr. Rudolf Haffenreffer. His portrait holds a prominent place in the gallery. I told them how one man’s interest in the past gave them an opportunity to discover through his collections what life was like long ago. With the closing of this museum, we have lost much of our ability to teach the importance of this site and its history. I hope that this land will be preserved for future generations. It has been a most rewarding experience to become a docent at the Haffenreffer Museum in Bristol. It gave me a chance to meet many wonderful and interesting people, from the staff and educators to guest speakers. They all contributed to my learning and understanding 103


A Reflection

On Being a Docent
By Elizabeth Johnson It all started as an inquiry: “What does a docent do at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology?” The answer came as I attended the training meetings, where we listened, discussed assigned articles and learned basic anthropology as well as the history of the museum. We explored the museum’s exhibits. Ideas and observations were exchanged. We became honorary Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum and, more importantly, we became friends for each other. We learned how to actively engage the children. Each artifact has a story to tell. Touching feathers, handling tools, sitting on deerskin at King Philip’s Chair or screening dirt from a dig all brought personal interest to the children. They became part of their learning. Thus, their visit left a lasting imprint. In the Native People of Southeastern New England program, I usually “manned” the museum. First, we circled the diorama of a Wampanoag summer village shortly after European contact. “Look, there’s a crow in the garden, deer in the woods, or a baby cradled in a tree.” They listened to me describe the “three sisters” (corn, beans and squash) in the garden, how crows were kept away, how a canoe was made, the process of preparing deer skin, trading for metal and the separation of duties between men and women.

For the group going to the powwow , it started with a greeting, “Come in, sit down in a circle. You must leave a space in the east for the leader who will start the by smudging all who are in the circle. Paddle your hands in Elizabeth Johnson, docent front of your nose so the smoke goes into your body to free your spirit for our celebration.” Some giggle, some doubt, but all are participating. The drum is introduced as the heart of the powwow. Now there is an eagerness to play. While some boys were wary about wearing ribbon shirts, most joined in with the girls. Armed with rattles, bells or drum sticks, the wiggling children anxiously awaited the music. Their feet followed the beat of the drum; their faces were beaming as they learned about contemporary Indian people. The Arctic program had its own unique welcome. “Come sit down in front of the kayak. Sit as if you are in the kayak. Paddle. Didn’t your father make a sturdy frame? Look how tightly your mother covered the frame with seal skin. Later, we will enact the story of a boy’s first seal hunt. See the portrait behind the kayak … that’s Rudolf Haffenreffer who founded this museum. He was a busi-

nessman with a passionate hobby for collecting things. Do any of you have a collection?”The children would answer: coins, rocks, shells, beanie babies, hot wheels, etc. “Let’s go and see what was collected from the very cold North. “ “Looking at these artifacts, you will see evidence of the special relationship between man and animal. The manmade ivory carvings reflect a reverence for the hunted animal … the seal on the bow of the kayak, the bears on the ivory scrimshaw. Enter the summer camp–everything is touchable.” The children immediately move about; some fall to their knees and touch the seal skin; others examine the Inuit clothes, while some stand perplexed by the walrus’ skull, awed by the size of the head and tusks. Probably the best part of being a docent was when you were not being a docent, because you were learning or enjoying good company. Anthropologists lectured, enriching our knowledge. Americans Indians shared their stories of present day life. An Inuit craftsman came and built a stone marker, connecting us geographically and symbolically with King Philip’s Chair and Narragansett Bay. Plains Indians danced in regalia, reminding us of the beauty and spirituality of movement. Graduate students introduced us to their new exhibits of Mexican masks and Guatemalan huipils. Viking reenactors took us back to the Middle Ages. Africans from Mali taught us to make designs using mud.

And then there were the potluck dinners: most docents outdid themselves. The food was always better than at any restaurant gathering (and we had those, too). One of the best events was the trip to Washington, D.C., where we were guided through the National Museum of the American Indian. We became fast friends, sharing not only these experiences, and those in the museum, but also sharing family stories and mutual concerns. Now the last page has been turned, and all that I can report are memories.

Interactive area of Kayak, Umiak and Canoe exhibit in museum gallery.



A Reflection

Ascowiquasin, Netop
By Diane Rabinowitz I became a docent for Haffenreffer Museum for three reasons: I had studied cultural anthropology at university; I wanted to connect with someone in the community as I had just moved here; and I knew little about the Native Americans. It wasn’t about the children. It was about: what could I learn? Many years ago, my own childhood summer vacations always consisted of camping—tents, campfires, roughing it a bit. I would often ask the children, what did they like best about their visit to the Haffenreffer? Perhaps ninety percent of their answers were the wetu (Wampanoag summer house) or the tipi (home of the Lakota Sioux), with their cozy fires. They ground corn, touched artifacts and learned about the grass dance the Plains Indians did to prepare the ground for setting up their tipis. The children would beat a real drum at a pretend powwow. They would learn how to say: Ascowiquasin, Netop (Good morning, friend), or Oovlauletag (Good Morning) or Hau, Kola (hello, friend). They would learn a bit of sign language of the Plains Indians. One of my favorite stations was introducing Inuit toys and games. All children can relate to this topic, and les-

sons in cultural comparisons are easy—for example, the physical culture of sitting in a circle to play a game. American children invariably sit with their legs crossed, ankles tucked. Inuit children sit with their legs together, straight out in front of Diane Rabinowitz, docent them. Why would this be so? The Inuit children had to learn to sit like this so when they sat in kayaks, it would be natural for them. A direct physical experience of such a cultural difference helps children learn what anthropology really is. I loved showing them the collection of beaded moccasins made by the various Plains Indian tribes. Which one is different? Yes, the one with the red porcupine quills. Here is a porcupine quill to be flattened with the teeth, then dyed. Here is a porcupine hide. How did they catch a porcupine? I loved showing them the headdress of an Indian chief with its many feathers, ermine fur strips, beads and horse hairs. And then there was the “winter count,” a kind of calendar the Plains Indians used. The elders decided which important events should be symbolized and painted on a deer

hide each year. Usually, the symbols spiraled outward from the center. One of my greatest delights was to try and give the children a grasp of what an important event might be (not someone’s birthday or a holiday). At the end of the spiral, I would put a tiny pair of red sox for the 2004 World Series. Everyone understood that event! Children will no longer hike to King Philip’s Chair where the Wampanoag people gathered on Mount Hope. They will no longer have the great hands-on experience that the Haffenreffer education program provided them. The closing of this museum at this location is a tremendous loss to the children and to the community. I shall forever treasure what I learned here. To all the docents I knew, if they could see me sign, I would say: “May the Great Spirit make the sun rise forever in your hearts.”



A Tribute to the Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum
The Friends Association of the Haffenreffer Museum was created in 1972 as another way of reaching out to broader public audiences. Their first president was Dorothy Dugdale, also the first docent in the education program. A subsequent president, Barbara Greenwald, was also one of the initial docents, and there continued to be firm links between the two groups, as they worked together to provide community programs. Docents were honorary members of the Friends, receiving free memberships in honor of their volunteer teaching service. The Friends provided both moral and financial support to the education program. Their board included an on-going seat for a docent member who kept the needs of the education program prominently among Friends’ interests. The board committee on Programs, Education, Events and Publicity was chaired for many years by Lucy Buckley, a pediatric cardiologist devoted to the needs of children. She worked closely with staff Programs Director, Lyn Udvardy, and between them they brought many unique events of community-wide interest to the Bristol site.

When large immigrant groups arrived in Rhode Island as part of re-settlement following the Vietnam War, outdoor festivals were planned to give the new residents an opportunity to become known by their Rhode Island neighbors for their traditional skills. These public programs featured Laotian dancers, Hmong embroiderers, and Cambodian stone carvers. Other outdoor festivals related to ongoing exhibits and on-site school programs featured Greek dancers, Plains Indian Fancy Dancers, and the Strawberry Moon Festival of southeastern New England native people. One of the most popular programs was a performance by the Gyuto Tantric Monks, originally of Tibet, who presented a concert of chanting and throat singing to a sell- out crowd of students on the Brown campus, and then spent an equally exciting day at Mount Hope interacting with the museum’s Himalayan education program.

Gyuto Tantric Monks visit the museum to view objects of many cultures.

Long-term members of the Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum, Lucy and Carter Buckley, with their children Helen and C.J.

Artist Juan Orta conducts a mask-carving demonstration in 1994.

The experiential emphasis was carried out in many ways through the Friends programs. Author/artist James Houston spoke a number of times about his work with Inuit artists in helping them start the West Baffin Island printmaking cooperatives. One year this was followed by a hands-on program in which his son, John Houston, interpreted while an Inuit printmaker demonstrated the art of stenciling, and, with docent help, gave a class for all those interested in trying stenciling themselves. The Friends also sponsored symposia related to museum research and publication, such as “Costume and Communication: Mesoamerican and Andean Textiles,” and the experiential education program created new units to embrace this scholarship. In 2003 and two subsequent years the Friends supported the research interests of Deputy Director Kevin Smith in Icelandic archaeology through 109


a series of experiential learning activities carried out by costumed historic interpreters of the Viking age. During three day encampments on museum grounds they demonstrated the 10th-century Viking arts of bronze and pewter casting, iron forging, weaving and spinning, using dyes from native plants, some harvested from the grounds of Mt. Hope. This was accompanied by scholarly symposia on Icelandic archaeology and art. In this way, recent anthropological and art historical information was disseminated to the wider community on a number of different levels.

Viking Program



Education Program Highlights, 1968-2008
This sampling of program offerings, docent activities and milestones was collected from Haffenreffer Museum newsletters and brochures. 1968
Bets Giddings, Ellen Wilson and Barbara Andrews Hail initiate the Haffenreffer Museum’s Experiential Education Program for elementary students, first by bringing the program to schools, and then, in the fall, hosting the first on-site program at Mount Hope for a class from the Gordon School in East Providence).

Plains Indian, Eastern Woodland Indian, Iroquois Indian, African Tribal Life, Native Peoples of Peru, and Mexico. Fee per visit: $15.

Docents visit Yale’s Peabody Museum, the Garvan Collection of the Yale Art Gallery, the British Art Museum and the Peabody Museum, Harvard.

Bets Giddings retires as curator and becomes curator emerita in 1983.

The museum reaches 4,500 school children at the museum or in their classrooms, with the help of Brown students and community volunteers, including students Roger Page, Susan Murphy, Joquin Brandt and Gery Ellenbogen. Bets Giddings and docent Patsy Sanford plant flint corn with Patsy’s Girl Scout Troup, using fish in each mound, in cooperation with the Society for the Propagation of the Jonny Cake in Rhode Island. The education program receives a new van for the program, through a gift from the Haffenreffer Family Foundation.

The traveling van visits 22 nursing homes and senior citizen centers in addition to school visits. Programs include Africa and the New England Indians. Nigerian student Afolabi Arawole and Narragansett member Diosa Gurule assisted.

On-site programs include Northeastern Native Americans, the Eskimos, Southwestern Native Americans, and Plains Native Americans. The traveling van conducts 59 programs reaching 2,333 students in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, offering units on the Plains, the Eskimos and the Northeast. In addition, more than 600 people visit the museum on special tours.

Dr. Jane Powell Dwyer dies. Barbara A. Hail becomes Acting Director.

The education program presents 68 on-site programs on Indians of New England, the Eskimos, Pueblos of the Southwest and the Plains Indians. The van program visits 41 schools as well as various nursing homes, offering units on the Plains, the Eskimos, the Northeast, and Africa.

1982 – 1983
The traveling van visits 35 schools and 25 nursing homes. Programs include Indians of the Plains, Akamba of East Africa, the Eskimos, and Woodlands Indians of the Northeast. The diorama of a 17th-century Wampanoag village is unveiled. The project was conceived by Education Coordinator Ellen Wilson and built by Brown art student Eve Griffen. Docent field trips include the Museum of the American Indian and the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the new Rockefeller Wing for Primitive Art of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Peabody Museum in Salem, and the New Bedford Whaling Museum to view Portuguese “colchas.” Docent activities also include guided walk by Red Thunder Cloud (a member of the Catawba nation), a fall luncheon orientation at Barbara Hail’s home, a Christmas party and a spring luncheon meeting at the home of docent Sidney Tynan.

Dr. Alex Ricciardelli becomes museum director. The program welcomes its first group of docents, including Barbara Greenwald, who would become the HMA’s most senior docent, as well as Lyn Udvardy and Patsy Sanford, who in later years lead the education program.

Susan (Essons) Patterson becomes a docent; she later serves on the staff of the education program. Himalayan Peoples becomes new education unit, created by Brown student Sonam Denjongpa.

Dr. Shepard Krech III becomes museum director. On-site programs include the Woodland Indians, Peoples of the Arctic, Pueblos of the Southwest, and Indians of the Plains. Van programs include the Plains Indians, the New England Indians, and West Africa.

Dr. Jane Powell Dwyer becomes museum director. The Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology is formed.

The on-site program offers units on Plains Indians, Eskimos, Native peoples of Peru, and Eastern Woodland area of North America.

A new program is developed in conjunction with the exhibit, “Out of the North.” Docents receive extensive training on the native peoples of the Subarctic area of Canada and Alaska. Materials were borrowed or purchased for the education department from the Northwest Territories. A bush camp setting is created including an 8’ x 10’ log cabin, donated by a

The on-site program offers an African unit featuring a grass and sapling hut modeled on those of the Akamba people; Kenya; Plains Indian unit, featuring Cheyenne tipi; Hopi unit, featuring Hopi pueblo. The traveling program offers units on Eskimo,



Massachusetts business. A birch log fish-drying rack and deer skin scraping area are built with the help of Rip Gerry. School children learn about old and new life ways of the “Hunters and Fishers of the North.” A new exhibit is installed in the North American Gallery depicting a Plains Indian family during the early 1900s.

workshops for docents by Brown University Anthropology Department graduate students. Docents join local school teachers for workshops featuring visiting scholars, native consultants and other museum professionals. A new unit is developed to focus on 19th-century New England native life, a period of Native history unfamiliar to most teachers. On-site programs include Native People of Southeastern New

Bets Giddings, curator emerita, dies in 1994. Docent training features lectures on traditional Narragansett medicine by Ella Sekatau; how to present the Tomah Joseph exhibit to children by Joan Lester; the history of the Plains war shirt by Barbara Hail; marketing techniques for native arts by Judith Dupre; and peoples of the Arctic by Doug Anderson. Docent workshops feature Brown graduate students Ann McMullen and Dan Odess. Docent field trips include the Museum of Our National Heritage in Lexington, Mass. to view Fred D. Miller’s exhibit of the Crow Indian Reservation, and the Mashpee Indian Museum on Cape Cod. The Education Department holds two teacher workshops and tours in the fall for the Providence Teachers Union and the Social Studies Teachers Association. Docents Ray Dyer, Muriel Harper and Michael Surgento entertain children in the summer with tales from around the world during the weekly story hour.

Camp programs include African Traditions (February vacation, ages 6-12) and April in Mexico (spring vacation, ages 6-12).

Docent training highlights a new program developed by Lyn Udvardy on Life in Ancient Mexico, for a new exhibit, “Objects and Images of Mesoamerica.” The program includes a treasure hunt of pre-Columbian objects, a video showing contemporary Guatemalan textiles and hands-on activity using clay and the Mayan numerical system. Docents attend a lecture by Dovie Thomason, Lakota/Kiowa/Apache storyteller; a lecture by Barbara Hail on the cultural importance of beads and beadwork among the Plains Indians; a beading workshop by Chris Bullock of The Wandering Bull American Indian Craft Supplies in Attleboro, Mass.; a talk by museum conservator Alexandra O’Donnell on handling and conservation of artifacts; and a talk by David Gregg on interpreting the “Passionate Hobby” exhibit to school children.

On-site programs include Subarctic: Hunters and Fishers of the North; and Indians of the Plains: The Reservation Period.

England, Native People of the Arctic, and Native People of the Plains. Joanna Coppola becomes a docent. Van programs include Native People of the Plains, Native People of Southeastern New England, and Africa for grades two through six, and an additional program for grades seven through twelve entitled: “An Appreciation of Difference: Native Americans in American Culture,” developed by Susan Patterson as a master’s thesis at Brown University. It posed questions such as: Who Is the American Indian? A Noble Savage? A Fierce Warrior? A Sports Mascot? A Spiritual Leader? The Original Ecologist? A special program for adults is held: “From Stone Tools to Stonehenge: An Introduction to Archaeology and Archaeological Problems with David Gregg.” Summer Programs include Looking for the Past (for ages 8-12) and Discover Mount Hope (for ages 4-6).

The education department sponsors a four-week docent training program with the help of long-time docents Mary Jerome and Barbara Greenwald, featuring Wampanoag member Nanepashemet, research associate at Plimoth Plantation.

The cover design from Hau Kola! by Barbara A. Hail becomes the new logo for the museum. Rudolf F. “Pete” Haffenreffer 3rd dies. He was the elder son of the museum’s founder and worked closely with the museum and Brown University.

Docents attend a “Renew and Review Enrichment Program” on teaching techniques used by elementary school teachers. Docents and staff visited Plimoth Plantation. Ken Kensigner of Bennington College speaks to docents about the Cashinahua people of the Peruvian rainforest, and docents visited the Roger Williams Park Zoo to see the tropical rain forest exhibit. Docent training includes talks by Barbara Hail and Brown student Jennifer Bigback (Northern Cheyenne) about contemporary life on a Montana reservation.

On-site programs include Native People of Southeastern New England, Native People of the Arctic and Native People of the Plains. Van programs include Native People of the Plains, Native People of Southeastern New England, and Traditional Village Life in Africa.

The education program expands from four to five days per week to serve Rhode Island and Massachusetts elementary schools. The museum sponsors a series of free anthropology



Carl W. Haffenreffer dies in 1999 at the age of 92. Mary Jerome is honored for 20 years as a docent. The museum hosts a 15-hour teachers’ institute, “Thinking with Things: Material Culture for the Classroom,” in conjunction with Brown University’s Department of Education. On-site programs include Native People of Southeastern New England; Pueblo People of the Southwest: The Hopi; Native People of the Alaskan Arctic: The Eskimo; and Native People of the Plains.

A special one-hour program for students, “Masks of West Africa,” enables students to view and discuss exhibit, taste West African food and make a mask.

Many docents attend an overnight field trip to tour the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. Associate Curator of Education Patsy Sanford retires after 35 years of service, both as a staff member and a docent. Education Specialist Linda A’Vant-Deishinni joins the staff.

A new wetu is completed on the museum grounds. On-site programs include Native People of Southeastern New England; Native People of the Arctic: The Eskimo; and Native People of the Plains. Traveling programs include Traditional Village Life in West Africa. In 2002, Deputy Director and Curator Barbara Hail retires after 34 years of service. Program Specialist Lyn Udvardy retires after 24 years on the staff and several years as a docent. Kevin P. Smith appointed new Deputy Director and Chief Curator. Marion Wingfield appointed Curator of Education and Programs.

Geralyn Hoffman joins the museum as Curator of Programs and Education.

Barbara Greenwald dies in 2000, having contributed 30 years of service as a docent and co-founder of the Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum.

Docents attend the Friends of the Haffenreffer trip to New York City to view the exhibit, “Gifts of Pride and Love,” curated by Deputy Director Barbara Hail, ending with dinner hosted by Artemis and Martha Joukowsky. On-site programs include Native People of Southeastern New England; Native People of the Plains; Native Peoples of the Arctic: The Eskimo; and Traditional Village Life in West Africa Keni Sturgeon joins the Haffenreffer Museum as Curator of Education and Programs. Docents attend lecture on Native people of the Plains by Doug Anderson.

Docents attend lectures by David Gregg, Barbara Hail and Jolene Rickard (Tuscarora).



Docent Roster, 1968 - 2008
This list is based on records found in the education files of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. Please contact the museum with information regarding any names which should be included and do not appear on this list.

Adams-Howes, Shirley Adae, Betty Amanna, Frances Avery, Josie Avila, Andrew Avila, Carol Brahman, Patsy Barbour, Shirley Barrett, Alton Brandano, Anna Brillo, Arlene Bruemmer, Betsy Capelo Theresa Carreiro, Cecillia Casalegno, Michelle Casparis, John Chaffa, Monique Christina, Martha Church,Susan Clark, Jacqui Coppola, Joanna Coyne, Roberta Crow, Candice

Cullen, Joyce Daniel, Anne Denby, Sarah Desaulniers, Andre Detels, Elinor Dugdale, Dorothy Drew, Thea Driscoll,Grace Durst, Jeannette Dyer, Raymond Edgette, Arthur Faria, Dorothy Fein, Lawrence Finch, Shirley Floor, Marie Foster, Janet Francis, Terry Fyfe, Sandy Gaeta, David Gammons, Ned Gennari, Elaine Gentis, Thierry Gizzarelli, Albina

Greenwald, Barbara Grossman, Alyssa Gurule, Diosa Hafken, Alexis Harrell, Anita Harrington, Betty Hastreiter, Kristine Hayden, Sharon Hecht, Janet Hellmann, Vida House Medeiros, Cindy Hoye, Stephen Hughes, Kay Humm, Kathy Huston, Lib Jerome, Mary Johnson Elizabeth Kent, Cherine Kesner, Jean Knutsen, Ruth Kornhouser, Pat L’Heureux, Stephanie Litoff, Hal

Lizzotte, Kathy Martel, Christine Martineau-Gafford, Carol McCarron, Pam McGuigan, Emily Mello, Kevin Merlino, Nancie Meyer, Pamela Mitchell, Donna Munro-Thivierge, Mary Ann Murphy, Cherie Nace, Mary Alice Pacheco, Jonathon Pansa, Josephine Patterson, Susan Richard, Ray Rothchild, Arlene Rogers, Joan Rottenberg Toni Sanford, Patsy Shatkin, Shelly Schwarz, Henry Sides, Anna

Silvia, Kathy Sisson, Pat Smith, Mary Smith, Walter Starret, Barbara Stillings, Jo-Ann Stone, Cynthia Strain, Mags Surgento, Michael Taylor, Carolyn Teifeld, Anne Tomash, Bonnie Tortorice, Lisa Truong, Dora Tynan, Sidney Tyson, Margaret Udvardy, Lyn Wagner, Anne B. Weeden, Precious



Education Program Staff, 1968 - 2010
Ellen Wilson Barbara Andrews Hail Lyn Udvardy Patsy Sanford Marion Wingfield Susan Patterson Keni Sturgeon Linda A’Vant-Deishinni Geralyn Hoffman Van Assistants Ella Sekatau, Narragansett Eric Thomas, Narragansett Josie Michaud Thierry Gentis Samson Ashamu, Nigeria Zewde Tefera, Ethiopia Diosa Gurule, Narragansett Red Thunder Cloud, Catawba Gabriel Mongrue, Liberia Baboucar Jobe, the Gambia Seth Ballou Donald “Three Bears” Fisher Jennifer Surst Kathy Silvia Other Contributors Office Managers Irene Anthony, Ethel Rudy, Kathleen Luke and Carol Dutton made bookings and maintained financial records of the education program. Associate Curator for Collections Thierry Gentis selected objects from the collection suitable for use. Conservation Technician Joyce Smith prepared objects for exhibition and storage. Exhibits Preparator/Photo Archivist  Rip Gerry aided in creating exhibits and in recording childrens’ programs in video and slides. Mount Hope Grant Managers Al Kreher and Rod Pacheco aided in the creation of outdoor education exhibits.



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