The Annual Report of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

Volume 37 Spring 2011

About the Museum
The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology is Brown University’s teaching museum. We inspire creative and critical thinking about culture by fostering interdisciplinary understanding of the material world. The museum’s gallery is in Manning Hall, 21 Prospect Street, Providence, Rhode Island, on Brown’s main green. The museum’s Collection Research Center is at 300 Tower Street, Bristol, Rhode Island.
Manning Hall Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology Box 1965 Brown University Providence, RI 02912 (401) 253-8388

Front cover: Top left: Exquisite Things exhibit; bottom left: Boe Titla in concert; center: Jarai funerary statues at Rockefeller Library; top right: detail from Taiwanese architectural panel; lower right: students on archaeology field trip in Manning gallery

From the Director

Jarai funerary sculpture from Vietnam. Taíno trigonoliths from the Dominican Republic. Haitian Vodou flags. It’s been a busy and remarkably diverse year.
(And yes, there will be a quiz at the end.) I became director of the Haffenreffer Museum a year ago. I know a lot about museums – I’m director of Brown’s public humanities program - but not as much about anthropology. I’ve come to appreciate the remarkable collections of the museum. And even more, I now see the power of a university museum as an essential place for teaching and learning and research. We have collections, like a library; expertise, like the faculty; a display space, like a gallery. We pull them all together to create a direct kind of learning experience in a social space that is possible only in a museum. A university museum provides a great range of opportunities for learning. Of course, students and the general public learn from visiting the gallery; that social or solitary connection with the art and artifacts and stories on display is the quintessential museum experience. But hands-on work with artifacts provides the museum user’s deepest connection with the past, and with the world. And that’s exactly what a university museum does best. This year some thirty classes and student groups had that in-depth experience and connection with the Haffenreffer collection. Some visited the museum’s Collections Research Center in Bristol. Some curated exhibitions. Others had materials brought to the classroom, or put on display in departmental buildings. Others visited the Manning gallery with faculty and museum staff. The range of topics, interests and approaches has been astonishing. Jewelry students from RISD looked at adornment from around the world, for inspiration. Archaeology students looked at broken pots, to understand their construction. American studies students looked at Native American material and built web exhibits on the nature of public and private spheres. Museum, material culture, and interior architecture students built exhibits, real and virtual, and learned about collecting, conservation, storage and museum design. Objects from three millennia of world history gained a new chapter in their biographies, this time as devices for learning. The museum has proved useful across campus, and across the disciplines.

Steven Lubar

Students and faculty have been involved in all of the museum’s exhibits this year. Reimagining Columbus, Reimagining Columbus Day used the collections to provide historical depth to Brown’s controversial decision, last year, to rename Columbus Day. We joined a campus-wide exhibition of Haitian art. Our contribution to Reframing Haiti: Art, History and Performativity was a curatorial experiment: we invited Manbo Marie Evans, a Vodou priestess, to mine the collections to build an altar in the gallery. Seeing Ourselves, Showing Ourselves, a graduate student project, turned the tools of the anthropologist on Brown students. Exquisite Things, a class project, made students think deeply about the range of ways that artifacts can be categorized. Supporting the teaching work of the museum, of course, is the infrastructure. Over the past few years Brown has made a substantial investment in the museum’s physical plant and storage facilities, work completed this year. The Collections Research Center has superb new storage spaces with good environmental conditions and security. And, at long last, we have a banner on Manning Hall announcing the museum within! About that quiz: keep an eye out for each of those artifacts mentioned above in this report. You’ll find pictures of them in the articles about the exhibitions in which they played a starring role.


Curatorial Reflections

Reimagining Columbus, Reimagining Columbus Day
Elena Gonzales
Museums are often more lumbering than lithe. Even university museums can take years to respond to topics they find relevant. But the Haffenreffer tries to stay sprightly and relevant by making available flexible spaces for students to curate exhibitions.
Reimagining Columbus, Reimagining Columbus Day is an example of this flexibility. It allowed students to use the museum as a resource for research and practice. The museum director asked me to work with him to curate an exhibition about Brown’s decision, the previous year, to replace Columbus Day with Fall Weekend. This is a subject that resonates with the many students who took part in the efforts to dismantle the celebration of Columbus on campus.
The stories we told in the exhibit, and the way we used them to connect to the larger exhibition, were exciting. But I was equally excited by how much we were able to accomplish in a very short amount of time. We began planning the project in August, and the exhibit was open in time for Columbus Day – October 11, 2010. There were several reasons we were able to do this. We began by forming alliances with undergraduates who had been involved in the efforts to change Columbus Day. Then, we assembled a team of researchers from the public humanities masters program at the John Nicholas Brown Center. We knew we would be mining a variety of collections at Brown for the project. Indeed, we hoped to tap into as many as possible. So after some initial research together as a group, we split up according to the collections we needed to research. Ultimately this process brought in a wealth of material from the Brown University Archives, the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, and even Brown’s formidable collection of postage stamps. The Haffenreffer’s own collection included a gorgeous orotone print of Edward Curtis’s “Vanishing Race – Navaho,” as well as the cigar store Indian who welcomed visitors into our exhibit. While working on the project, I had no idea how many visitors we would have or what their reactions would be. The team of researchers and I were thrilled, however, when we held a curatorial tour and roundtable discussion that drew in staff, graduate and undergraduate students, and visitors to Brown, many of whom engaged in a lively conversation
Reimagining Columbus combined archaeological elements like these Taino trigonoliths, Native American archives and artifacts from the Haffenreffer collection, manuscripts, archives, and even a stained glass window from the John Hay Library, and materials and photographs from student activists.

It would also provide a new context for the existing archaeological exhibition, Reimagining the Americas. We hoped to draw visitors into a story that felt local and timely enough that it would compel them to look around the larger exhibition again, with fresh thoughts. We hoped to draw materials we saw as relevant to discussions at Brown – those in Reimagining the Americas – into the campusStudent curators, left to right: Emily Bryant, wide conversation. In order to Elyse McNiff, and Elena Gonzales. do this, we condensed a section of Reimagining the Americas relating to the Taíno people, the people Columbus encountered first in the Americas, and used that as a bridge into discussing the history of Columbus Day in the United States and at Brown in particular. From there, we explained why many people wished to abolish Columbus Day, and how students at Brown did so. We intended to illuminate some of the controversy around the story as well as to signal a larger point. Holidays help define us as a nation. We feel as if they’ve always been there, and naturally so. But people invented these traditions, for specific reasons, to serve specific purposes. When we know this, it empowers us to investigate the meanings of the traditions we perform, and to alter them when we disagree with the cultural work they do today.


about the relative merits of the decision to change Columbus Day to Fall Weekend and the power of the museum to treat relevant issues on campus. The feeling of holding a mini-seminar in the belly of a gallery was quite wonderful indeed, yet another example of a museum’s flexibility and its openness to student work.

Elena Gonzales is a PhD student in the Department of American Studies at Brown, working on her dissertation on the ways that museums can work for social justice. This semester she taught “Displaying Activism Then and Now,” a writing seminar on curatorial studies that resulted in an exhibition at the John Hay Library.

The exhibition explored the history of Columbus Day at Brown, from the students who marched in Providence's first Columbus Day parade in 1892 to the activists who had the holiday renamed in 2009. Columbus’s landing was the central figure in this 1946 stained-glass window that graced the “Little Chapel” in Sayles Hall.

Exquisite Things: An exhibition of connections within collections
Ian Russell
This past December, the students of “Things: The Material Worlds of Humanity” opened a new off-site exhibition project for the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. Located in the newly reopened Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center, Exquisite Things is part of a new initiative by the museum to site temporary exhibitions of pieces from the Haffenreffer collection in different places throughout campus. The objects in Exquisite Things were chosen using a variation of the Surrealist game exquisite corpse. A museum curator and eight students each selected one thing – in sequence, one after another. Rather than following a specific theme, each person chose an object based on how they thought it connected to the object chosen just before them. The result is not only a collection of objects from the museum, but also a collection of the connections students make between things and how we perceive meaning through these connections. The students designed the exhibition to invite others to encounter the objects they chose in an unexpected context, prompting visitors to wonder why they were chosen. We developed an online interactive exhibition ( to allow visitors to submit their thoughts about how each object connects to the rest, creating a collection of connections that reveal the multiple ways visitors interpret and perceive relationships within museum exhibitions. The website also hosts a series of audio podcasts by each student reflecting on their experience in making the exhibition and how they chose the object they did. In February, two groups of students revisited the exhibition to experiment further. The students were given markers and invited to write their thoughts about the connections between the objects directly onto the exhibition case. The result was an innovative museum experience where the words of the exhibition curators and visitors were superimposed directly onto the image of the objects on view. To some it liberated the interpretation of the objects to allow for multiple perspectives. Others found that it constrained the experience of exploring connections. All agreed, however, that it provided

a new kind of hands-on interactivity, and an exciting way of allowing multiple voices to speak to the objects on view. The exhibition will be open through the end of the semester, and we welcome you to experience it for yourself. Wonder about why the objects were chosen and tell us what you think the connections are. Add your connections to our growing collection by playing the game here:

Ian Russell is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Public Art and Cultural Heritage at Brown’s John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage.


Re-framing the Museum: Haitian Vodou
Steven Lubar
March and April saw more than one hundred works of Haitian art on display as Brown University hosted Re-Framing Haiti: Art, History and Performativity.
This campus-wide celebration of Haitian art was part of Brown’s response to the Haitian earthquake a year earlier. In the words of project co-curator Professor Anthony Bogues, it reframed “Haiti as a human place where human lives are lived often against great odds.” It featured artists who “complicate our views of Haiti and its history.” The exhibit considered three themes: history and revolution, daily life, and religion. We were delighted to be asked to participate. The museum staff considered the ways it might best contribute. Our Haitian collections are very small – indeed, the Caribbean generally is poorly represented in the museum’s collections, with the exception of pre-Columbian archaeological materials. But we have spectacular African collections, including many traditional religious objects. We started to pull together an exhibition showing the African roots of Haitian Vodou – more precisely, the African religions with which Haitian vodou shares roots. We pulled from the collections BaKongo minkisis; representations of Yoruba deities, called orisha; bocio—spirits central to the contemporary Vodun religion of the Fon and Ewe people of coastal West Africa; and images of Mami Wata, the African water spirit. They made for a spectacular display, crowded on a table at the Collections Research Center. But an exhibition of African spirituality was not a good fit with the other Haitian exhibitions across the campus. And while Vodou has strong roots in African religions, it also includes other significant influences from sources like Roman Catholicism and Freemasonry. So, at the suggestion of Katherine Smith, co-curator of Reframing Haiti, postdoctoral fellow in the departments of Africana Studies and the History of Art and Architecture and an expert in Haitian Vodou, we tried something more experimental. Over the past decade, museums have found that bringing in outsiders to “mine” collections can provide new perspectives. The first and most famous “mining the museum” experiment was artist Fred Wilson’s 1992 project at the Maryland Historical Society, where he brought materials of African American history from storage to display, juxtaposing them in ways curators would not have thought of. Katherine Smith suggested we do something similar. Haitian Vodou, she reminded us, is a living religion, and we should bring it to life. Why not bring in a Manbo, a Vodou priestess, to build an altar, choosing the objects from the collections that spoke to her? Katherine introduced us to Manbo Marie Evans, who agreed to work with us. Marie Evan’s visit to Bristol was fascinating. We learned an enormous amount. Most important, we were reminded that museum collections are not just artifacts for teaching and research. They are part of living cultures and have meaning as part of living religions. Our original exhibition idea treated the artifacts as examples of the history of religion. Marie Evans, on the other hand, saw them as part of her religion. So where we might have displayed objects and described religious traditions, she built an exhibition that was a religious display: an altar to Lasirene.

Manbo Marie Evans blessing the altar she built at the museum. A vodou flag showing Lasirene hangs behind the altar.

Seeing Ourselves, Showing Ourselves: Brown’s Culture on Display
Sarah Reusché
Seeing Ourselves, Showing Ourselves explores how objects reveal culture. The anthropology museum is a place where we look at and talk about culture, a place that comes with certain expectations about who is on display, and who is doing the looking.
This exhibition, curated by graduate students from Brown’s public humanities program, plays with those expectations. It explores a local and familiar culture – the culture of Brown undergraduates - through the trail of information left by found and archived objects. We picked three categories of artifacts, categories traditional to anthropology museums, and turned them into mirrors, not lenses. We focused on objects of group identity; objects that create an official record by memorialization or archiving; and remnants, archaeological or collected. Objects came from the Brown University Archives, from the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, and from what museums call “field collecting,” acquiring things left behind at Brown’s infamous SexPowerGod fall ritual.

We then selected objects from the Haffenreffer Museum’s own collections that fit into these same categories. Items as diverse as Native American initiation dress, an Ashanti stool, a cuneiform tablet, and Taíno pottery sherds reiterated the categories, showing how objects from cultures around the world share function and cultural purpose. By placing familiar objects within a global context, this exhibit pushes

the boundaries of the space of the anthropology museum. It challenges visitors’ expectations – and gives students and other visitors a chance to reflect on their own culture, as culture.

Sarah Reusché is a graduate student in Brown’s public humanities program. She’ll be spending this summer learning about museum management at the Art Institute of Chicago.

She mined the collections for objects that spoke to the spirit of Lasirene. That spirit – the spirit of the bounty of the sea – appears in many cultures, and she saw what they have in common. Marie Evans saw the objects she picked as “a testament to the ways in which people in other parts of the world acknowledge the power of the sea,” and so we have an Alaskan Eskimo umiak model, with its evocation of a seal as a spiritual being. We have carved conch shells from India, a costume for a priestess of Yemanjá (mother of the waters) from Brazil. She also chose artifacts that had a role in Haitian Vodou ceremonials. Conch shells—she chose one from India—are used in Vodou temples to call the spirits of the sea. Large spoons are used to prepare food given to the spirits in exchange for their love,

assistance and protection. Brooms are used to clear away bad energy, then given to Clemezine, a spirit sister of Lasiren. Mortars, large and small, are at the heart of Vodou tradition, for they are used in preparing feasts and to pound leaves for healing treatments. Marie Evans built her altar using materials she chose from the Haffenreffer collections, material she brought from her altar at home, and the Haitian art brought to Brown as part of the larger exhibition program. Her altar animates the gallery at Manning, bringing it to life as a living religious space. The altar, surrounded by Haitian art, indeed succeeds in “reframing Haiti.” Marie Evan mined the collections with a new vision, for a new purpose, and we are enormously grateful for her helping us see our collections in a new way.


Educational Outreach

Archaeology for Sixth Graders
How can we teach sixth graders critical thinking skills, help them understand archaeologists’ work, and provide the background for how we know what we know about the past civilizations and cultures they learn about in their classes? That was the challenge of a collaborative program organized by the museum, the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, and the RISD Museum of Art. In five sessions, including in-class activities and a field trip to the RISD and Haffenreffer Museums, sixth graders at the Nathan Bishop Middle School got an in-depth, hands-on exploration of archaeology. It was our first formal K-12 field trip to the museum in Manning Hall, an experiment that served over 200 students. Brown and RISD graduate students and staff piloted the program at the William D’Abate Elementary School’s after school program in the spring of 2010, in collaboration with Brown’s Swearer Center for

Geralyn Hoffman

Public Service. But the team decided the program would be better if it were embedded in the curriculum and implemented during the school day. And so, over the summer, Mariani Lefas-Tetenes, Director of School and Teacher programs at the RISD Museum, and I met with teachers interested in incorporating the program into their curriculum. The team formed a partnership with the sixth grade social studies teachers at the Nathan Bishop Middle School. The program was refined with the help of two Joukowsky Institute graduate student proctors, Claudia Moser and Emanuela Bocancea, who also wrote scripts for the program’s sessions. Programs in the spring of 2011 were led by Joukowsky Institute proctor Katherine Harrington, Haffenreffer Museum intern Jessica Unger, and RISD Museum intern Laura Atchinson. Public humanities students designed the field trip to Manning as part of a course on informal education. These students, along with volunteers from the museum’s Student Advisory Board, also ran the field trip activities, allowing us to experiment with what we hope will become a student docent program.

Shana Weinberg (right) and Lucia Lopez (above right) teach sixthgraders at Manning.

Marlaina Martin
Last semester, the fall of 2010, I worked on the museum’s Sankofa educational outreach initiative. The Sankofa team’s job was to create, test, and disseminate a middleschool curriculum about AfricanAmerican history in Rhode Island. My job: to compile information about race relations in the northern United States, connecting slavery on the world scale to local hubs of activity like Bristol and Providence. We gathered information not only about slavery but also on race as a contemporary issue, hoping to link the past to the present in a way that taps into the experiences of middle school students in the 21st century. In doing this research with Geralyn Hoffman and graduate student Jessica Unger, I learned much. I learned how to do research in a limited amount of time, to write to a given audience outside of academia, and to adjust plans based on the reactions of my audience. I learned ways to approach controversial topics in classroom settings. And I found great joy in helping to introduce marginalized histories into

mainstream education – a cause for which I will always carry a passion. I am grateful to have had this experience as an undergraduate.

Marlaina Martin (above left) is a Brown undergraduate.


Jessica Unger
Working with the Haffenreffer this year has proven to be an incredibly enriching experience. As an “Education Outreach Intern” I worked on two projects under the supervision of Geralyn Hoffman, Curator of Programs and Education. In the fall I helped create curriculum materials for students in the sixth through eighth grades. These materials, for “Sankofa: African Americans in Rhode Island,” explored the history and culture of African Americans in the state. Geralyn, my fellow intern Marlaina, and I collaborated to conduct research on the topic, as well as explore different educational methods. This spring I began assisting Geralyn on the teaching project called “Think Like an Archaeologist.” This program involved a series of visits to a local middle school as an introduction to archaeological concepts such as surveying and excavating. The lesson culminated with a field trip to the Rhode Island School of Design’s Museum as well as the Haffenreffer’s gallery at Manning Hall.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges with these projects was discovering a way to make difficult concepts (such as “race” and “stratigraphy”) accessible to a younger audience. But that challenge was what I enjoyed most about my work with the Haffenreffer - finding ways to make the work of anthropologists relevant to the public (and hopefully inspiring a new generation of anthropologists!)

Jessica Unger (above, right, with Geralyn Hoffman and Marlaina Martin) is a first-year student in the public humanities program.

Museum Awarded RICH Grant for New Curriculum Materials
Last June the Haffenreffer Museum was awarded over $8,000 from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities for the development and testing of curriculum materials to complement the Sankofa: African Americans in Rhode Island Culture CaraVan outreach program. By this fall, the materials will be available on the Museum’s website free of charge, along with our other free lesson plans for K-12 teachers. In the fall of 2010, Jessica Unger, graduate student in the public humanities program and Marlaina Martin, an undergraduate in the anthropology department, helped me to research and write the curriculum materials. They also helped develop some of the accompanying lesson plans. Draft materials were presented to local Rhode Island middle school history and social studies teachers during a daylong workshop. Teachers gave immediate feedback on the materials and discussed possible improvement for some of the lessons. They were especially enthusiastic about a lesson using photographs of objects from the museum, a lesson that they felt could reach a variety of learners. The materials were also presented at the Rhode Island Department of Education’s Spring Civics Institute for teachers in May and will be shared at the New England Museum Association’s conference in November. The RICH grant also enabled us to visit classrooms of participating teachers with the Sankofa Culture CaraVan outreach program, reaching almost 600 students. Our thanks to the scholars who reviewed the material for us: Anthony Bogues, Harmon Family Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University; C. Morgan Grefe, Director of the Newell D. Goff Center for Education and Public Programming at the Rhode Island Historical Society; and Joanne Pope Melish, Associate Professor of History at the University of Kentucky.


Mount Hope Memories
from The Mount Hope Years, 1968-2008
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. 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 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. 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 that 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. The research, writing and production of The Mount Hope Years represent a volunteer effort spanning nearly two years. Printing and distribution of the book was made possible by an anonymous donation.

Joanna Coppola, Cindy Elder and Patsy Sanford edited The Mount Hope Years.

A busy year of public programs
A diverse fall semester
• A tour of Reimagining the Americas by student curator Cassandra Mesick* • New anthropology professor Andrew Scherer shared his archaeological work on Classic Maya Kingdoms • Boe Titla (San Carlos Apache), performed his ballads for us with an open vocal performance by RISD student Rose Simpson, a program made possible by Native Americans at Brown’s Native American Heritage Series* • Victor Masayesva, Jr. (Hopi) spoke about his research connecting the ancient Southwest with ancient Mesoamerica for the Edward G. and Barbara A. Hail lecture program • The Bristol Parks & Recreation Department, along with the Pokanoket Indians, held the annual Honoring the Harvest celebration in Bristol in November. • Michael Heckenberger (University of Florida), sponsored by the Jane Powell Dwyer Memorial Lecture program, spoke about his archaeological work in the Amazon and his new evidence for largescale ancient societies in the area. • Student curators Elena Gonzales, Elysian McNiff, and Lucia Lopez led a public tour and roundtable discussion of Reimagining Columbus, Reimagining Columbus Day*
*video available on the museum’s website

Valentine’s Day to discuss her work in the study of ancient Maya cacao political economies. (Our thanks to Taza Chocolate and Mars, Inc., for the donation of delicious, traditional, and historic chocolates!) • Patrick McGovern (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology) discussed how he recreated ancient beers by analyzing ancient vessels in his biomolecular lab and sharing that work with Dogfish Head brewery. (Special thanks to the Graduate Center Bar, which invited lecture attendees to a free tasting of four of the Dogfish Head ancient brews.) • Food anthropologist Jeffrey Pilcher (University of Minnesota) spoke about the globalization of Mexican cuisine. (Mexico Garibaldi Restaurant catered the reception; many thanks!) In March, Nathanial Philbrick joined us for a lively discussion with director Steven Lubar about his process for writing historical works.

And a tasty spring semester
For the annual Barbara Greenwald Memorial Arts program (with extra support from the department of anthropology and the Center for Environmental Studies), we hosted four talks complementing Reimagining the Americas by focusing on some of our favorite foods that come from or have been cultivated in the Americas: • Susan Wood, CEO of the Coffee Exchange, shared the work of the Coffee Kids organization in providing education and health programs for coffee growing communities • Patricia McAnany (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) visited us on

Geralyn Hoffman is Curator of Programs and Education.

Student Connections

Student Advisory Board Report
Hannah Sisk and Ben Jones
The Haffenreffer Museum’s Student Advisory Board (HMSAB), ten talented and creative undergraduate and graduate students, has worked hard this year. We’ve curated exhibits, participated in a private tour of the collections in Bristol, and organized and run educational programs for the Brown and greater Providence communities. The semesters’ accomplishments are particularly rewarding since the HMSAB has only become a cohesive group this school year - what began a year and a half ago as a handful of undergrads interested in becoming more involved with the museum has evolved into a group of dedicated and passionate students looking to more fully integrate the museum into Brown campus life. Our first project, in October and November, was an altar in celebration of Los Días de los Muertos. Along with the celebratory decorations of colorful crepe and skeletons, we encouraged visitors to add the names of their deceased loved ones in remembrance to the display. At the start of the second semester, we journeyed out to Bristol and received a private tour of the collections with curator Thierry Gentis. While we were there, we selected objects for our second exhibit – a display on Japanese Children’s Day, traditionally celebrated May 5th. Over the next weeks, we researched the festival, planning both the exhibit and the accompanying day of programs for kids in the community. The week after spring break, the exhibit went up in the entrance vestibule of the gallery in Manning Hall. On April 19th we invited children to come and participate in educational activities to celebrate the festival. It was an excellent afternoon of crafts as our visitors made carp flags, origami, and newspaper warrior helmets. The exhibit is still on display in Manning, and we encourage you to stop by and visit. Special thanks to HMSAB Treasurer Laura Berman ’14 and her Japanese senseis for guidance and translations for the exhibit, and to Emily Button (graduate student, Anthropology) for coordinating the program activities. The work this year has been fruitful and fun. We especially offer thanks to Geralyn Hoffman, Tony Belz, Thierry Gentis, and Steve Lubar for their guidance, assistance, and support. We are very excited about next year, when we hope to expand our membership and our presence on campus. New goals for next year include recognition as an official Brown student group and placing more satellite display cases around campus, as well as continuing to curate more student displays in Manning and organizing programs for visitors and other students.

Hannah Sisk ’13 and Ben Jones ’13 are co-presidents of the museum’s Student Advisory Board.


Emily Bryant
A day in the life of a grad student is often unremarkable: reading, class discussions, and project work are the typical activities that dominate my time. Fridays, however, are different. When I leave Brown’s campus and head to my internship at the Haffenreffer Collections Research Center in Bristol, RI, I head towards a welcome unpredictability. It’s a place where photographing trash bag aprons, cleaning armadillo-shell trumpets and cataloguing pre-Columbian pottery is all in a day’s work. My interest is in making history relevant and accessible to the public. It may seem ironic then that working behind-the-scenes in a museum should be fulfilling. Yet gaining an understanding of the inner workings of an active museum will help me give the public that understanding as well. Take any object in a glass case and ponder what you don’t see. Perhaps a tough ethical

question surrounded its display. Maybe it used to be covered in mold and experienced extensive conservation. What did the appraiser say it’s worth and why? What does the accession file say about where it came from? Why is its catalogue number so long? Each object brims with information. My work with the Haffenreffer staff and collections provides both the knowledge and the inspiration to reveal an object’s many stories.

Emily Bryant is a first-year student in Brown’s public humanities program.

Faculty Connections

Thinking and teaching with things
Emily Stokes-Rees
University museums like the Haffenreffer are uniquely positioned to contribute to the core academic goals of a liberal arts education through their approaches to scholarship and their engagement with complex interdisciplinary issues. Creating a connection between the abstract concepts we teach and the real physical world – hands-on engagement on a level difficult to attain with a traditional textbook - the study of objects and collections fosters rigorous critical thinking, as well as creativity in academic thought. My most important job, as Postdoctoral Fellow in Museum Anthropology over the past eight months, has been to encourage faculty and students from across the disciplines to incorporate material culture into their teaching, research, and learning. That means convincing them that objects are of value in teaching, demonstrating how to use them, and making the artifacts available. We do that in many ways. We have expanded the museum’s exhibition space into a number of departments. Objects in use by archaeology classes can be seen on display in Rhode Island Hall, for example. Some seminars are held in the museum’s gallery at Manning Hall, and we’ve carried artifacts to classrooms around the campus. Class field trips to the research center in Bristol are becoming increasingly popular – we’ve even set up a seminar room there. Staff members have become experts in ferrying objects back and forth from storage in Bristol to classrooms on the main campus. Through these kinds of activities we take the museum and the faculty and researchers who use it to places they otherwise would not have ventured. We can teach about objects – their materials and manufacture – but more important is the potential objects provide to teach about other concepts. A recent American Studies class on “American Publics,” for example, organized a session in Manning to examine a group of Native American objects. Discussion of the material revolved around issues of gender, political activism and the public/private spheres. While being both interesting and visually beautiful artifacts, the Native objects also provided the stepping-off point to wider ideas and themes, providing a focus for discussion, as well as inspiring the students to think about how objects mediate human relationships. A number of faculty report that the experience of working with the Haffenreffer’s collections has transformed their teaching. Jeremy Mumford of Brown’s History Department, for instance, commented on using objects in his class:

Using the Haffenreffer's objects in the Manning display case for my fall course, Comparative Native American History, was a big addition to the class – thank you! One of the class assignments was to choose one of the objects to write a short speculative essay about one of the objects, and it generated some of the best writing of the semester.
Moreover, many students are involved in substantive, first-hand involvement with collections through classes, student-curated exhibitions such as Exquisite Things in the student center, and Seeing Ourselves, Showing Ourselves in Manning Hall. Internships and interdisciplinary collaboration are also expanding as museum and curricular goals align. Faculty from American Studies, Public Humanities, Archaeology, Anthropology, History, and Modern Culture and Media, as well as several departments at RISD, have used the museum’s collections in their teaching in some way over the past academic year. I hope that the Haffenreffer will come to be seen as central to the educational endeavor with an active role on campus. The academy and its museums should strive to build symbiotic relationships, where the museum engages fully with the academic programs of its college, providing a stimulating training ground for future citizens of all kinds. This engagement will help museum curators to realize the true value of their objects and the stories they have the potential to tell. This is where museum meaning is truly created.

Emily Stokes-Rees is the museum’s postdoctoral fellow in museum anthropology. She taught a seminar this spring on national museums, and next fall will teach on museum anthropology. Her PhD is from Oxford.


Iron smelting
On April 22nd and 23rd, the Collections Research Center was the site of a medieval iron smelting experiment for students in Dr. Krysta Ryzewski’s course “Archaeology and Craft: Experimental Archaeology and the Materials Science of Ancient Technologies.” Working in sun, rain and wind, students built a low shaft bloomery iron furnace under the guidance of Canadian artisanal blacksmith and museum interpreter Darrell Markewitz, and then produced an iron bloom. Iron, slag, and other materials from the experiment are currently being analyzed; the furnace itself, and its surroundings, will be excavated at a later date.

The Salter Collection of Peruvian Ceramics: From Gift to Classroom to Museum
Thierry Gentis
Last summer we received an offer of a collection of Pre-Columbian ceramics from Peru and Colombia, acquired by Charlotte Salter on her travels in the 1950s. She wanted it to come to Brown so that it was available for students to explore. The timing was perfect. As it turned out, Prof. Allison Davis was teaching a class in Peruvian archaeology at the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, and so the collection was directly delivered to the Institute. Students could handle real artifacts, not just look at pictures online or in publications. And even better, their class work was immediately useful to the museum. Each student in the class took two examples from the collection to study. They learned about Peruvian archaeological ceramic traditions to identify the cultures of origin and age of their pieces, and wrote detailed descriptions for the museum’s database. Their research identified a group of eight ceramics from the Nasca Culture of the South Coast of Peru. These Nasca ceramics date from A.D. 250 to 550 and display typical Nasca motifs including a row of trophy heads around the rim of one bowl and another bowl that depicts an elaborate mythical being with the body of a serpent-like creature. The oldest example in the collection was identified as a bridge spout vessel with a whistle incorporated in the spout; the front of this vessel is decorated with an incised abstract bird design typical of Paracas culture style that dates this vessel to 600 B.C. to 100 B.C. Another vessel was identified as a quero, a cup used for the ritual

Salter collection ceramics sit atop student descriptions and data sheets ready for entry into the catalog.

drinking of chicha, maize beer, typical of Chimu pottery tradition dating from about A.D. 1470. All of this is in the museum’s records now. And just as important, it’s likely to be in the students’ memories, too, for far longer than it would have been if they had only looked at pictures. There’s nothing like handling the real thing!

Thierry Gentis is the museum’s associate curator.


Exploring the collections

The Spinden Collection
Nicholas Carter
One of the treasures of the Haffenreffer Museum is its archive of images from the collection of Herbert J. Spinden. Spinden (1879-1956) was a curator at the American Museum of Natural History, the Harvard Peabody Museum, the Buffalo Museum of Arts and Sciences, and the Brooklyn Museum. The archive includes over 20,000 images and documents related to Central American archaeology and ethnography from the early 20th century, including many images of important archaeological sites that have since been altered or destroyed. It’s a complicated collection, overlapping other Spinden collections at each of the places he worked. We want to digitize it to make it easily available, but we need to know more about it. Nick Carter, a graduate student in the department of anthropology who works on Mayan archaeology, took it on as his museum proctorship project. This is some of what he found. Over the fall semester of 2010 and the spring of 2011, I examined the museum’s archive of images from the collection of Herbert J. Spinden. In addition to the hundreds of photographic prints included in a searchable database at the museum, the collection includes hundreds of glass lantern slides. The work had two purposes: to select images for future publication by the Haffenreffer Museum and to clarify potential copyright issues associated with those images. To the latter end, I compared the Haffenreffer collection to another archive of Spinden material at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. The Spinden collection at the Peabody contains nineteen boxes of papers and photographs. The papers include notes, correspondence, and manuscripts, but they are not well organized or individually catalogued. There are thousands of pages’ worth of written material, but few references to the provenance of the photographs. The notes on the photographs themselves, along with external biographical information, remain for the present our best sources of information. Many of the photographs of Copan from the Haffenreffer Spinden collection are not duplicated at the Peabody, whether in the Spinden archive or elsewhere, but others, especially from the Carnegie Institution expeditions to Copan and the Yucatan Peninsula, are. A few of the photographs in the Haffenreffer collection derive from expeditions by Tulane University’s Middle American Research Institute. Others were published as plates in A Study of Maya Art: Its Subject Matter and Historical Development, and in many cases the prints bear notes and markings in Prof. Spinden’s hand about how they were to be published. A surprisingly large number of the photographs were taken by other Maya scholars, including Alfred P. Maudslay and Teobert Maler. The lantern slides present their own set of challenges and opportunities for research. These are

continued, p.16

Mrs. Spinden at House of the Deer, Chichen Itza




Vietnam in the Rock
Emily Stokes-Rees
Those waiting for the elevator in the Rockefeller Library will find themselves face-to-face with a new display: two striking Jarai funerary statues from Vietnam’s Central Highlands.
The figures are a gift of Dr. Mark Rapoport, medical doctor, Brown parent, and owner of the 54 Traditions Gallery outside Hanoi, the only gallery in Vietnam focusing on the cultures of the country’s 54 ethnic groups. Dr. Rapoport moved to Vietnam with his family in 2001. Between 2001 and 2005 he amassed a large collection of material culture and art from Vietnam, with an emphasis on the groups residing in the mountains north of Hanoi and those in the Central Highlands area. The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi mounted an exhibit of some 230 of Rapoport’s objects in 2002, its first-ever exhibition devoted to an individual collection. Dr. Rapoport’s interest in indigenous Vietnamese material culture actually began decades earlier, however, when he was a 4th year medical student. In 1969, he visited Vietnam for two months as a volunteer medical worker. Although most of his work was in the hospital for Vietnamese civilians in Danang, Dr. Rapoport also did some work in the villages of the ethnic minorities in Quang Nam and Quang Ngai provinces. At this time, he acquired an interest in the material culture/art of those groups, and it was during this trip that he made his collection of 17 Jarai funerary statues, which were donated to the Haffenreffer in 2008. The Jarai are from the Central Highlands of Vietnam. They are one of the most populous indigenous groups in the country, numbering roughly 320,000. Traditionally, the Jarai live in small communities of 50 to 500. These villages are laid out in a square, with single occupancy dwellings and communal longhouses arranged around a village center. Like most of Vietnam’s indigenous groups, the Jarai are a matrilineal society, with women proposing marriage, and family names passed from mother to child. They also place a strong emphasis on community life and have complex animistic spiritual beliefs and burial rites. The Jarai believe that humans have a soul (mngat) and following death the soul becomes spirit (atau).

The Rockefeller Library case contains two Jarai figures. The mourning figure, elbows on knees and face held in hands, is said to be a weeping widow or widower. The female figure is believed to represent the cycle of life. Other statues depict pregnant women, copulating couples, and daily activities in the world of the living to which the dead contribute as ancestors.

They bury their dead in a communal grave house, and wooden statues, fixed atop fence posts are carved to protect the souls of the deceased. Funerals are followed by a prolonged period of mourning. Each day, bereaved relatives visit the tombs to tidy the grave, leave food for the deceased, and express love and affection toward them. When the grave house is full, often after many years, a grave abandoning ceremony (Pothi) is held allowing both the living and the dead to move on. On the day of the ceremony, family members gather at the grave house and bring offerings of food. Villagers sing songs, dance and enjoy the food and drinks taken from the altar in the belief that the deceased returns to join the feast with them. After the ceremony, the tomb is abandoned and the spirit is released to join the “village of spirits” or “sunset world” (play atau) of the ancestors. Relatives are then free to cut their ties from the deceased. As time passes the grave house and statues gradually and silently biodegrade. The villagers then construct a new grave house, and the cycle begins anew. Studying these statues allows researchers to document cultural change. Nowadays, for example, one might see statues that reflect contemporary life – an American soldier, a Western woman, or a football player – references to the influence of modern life. Along with honoring the Jarai’s unique aesthetic achievement, observing and understanding changing styles of carving and the different attributes of individual figures, these sculptures also show us how the Jarai engage with today’s rapidly changing world.


New Collecting: Artifacts from Taiwan
Kevin Smith
Some additions to the collections are planned, others serendipitous. This spring, Brown’s provost, David Kertzer, asked me to investigate a group of aboriginal Taiwanese carvings held by emeritus professor of East Asian Studies, James Wrenn. The pieces, twelve beautifully carved architectural panels and one painted ceremonial paddle, were originally collected by James L. Shelley, a linguistic anthropologist who worked in the highlands of Taiwan recording the Paiwan and Rukai languages in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The architectural panels, which once graced the mountain homes of Paiwan or Rukai nobles, convey visual messages about the ancestry, prowess, and ritual roles of their owners. The paddle would once have propelled a boat of the Yami, who follow a maritime lifeway on Orchid Island, southeast of Taiwan. These striking artistic traditions are poorly represented in North American museums and this collection, presently on loan to the Haffenreffer, will make Brown’s collection among the country’s finest. Today, Taiwan's indigenous ethnic groups, like others around the world, seek recognition for their cultural identities, self-rule, or equal representation within a dominant society of different ethnic origin. Art, today as in the past, is central to these groups’ identity. Christy DeLair, a graduate student in Brown's anthropology department, is currently

conducting field research among Taiwan's aboriginal communities. Exploring the role of handicrafts production in artistic revivals among these communities and in their economy, she is also considering the role of the arts in negotiating community identities and changing perceptions of what it means to be indigenous, and what it means to be Taiwanese. Next fall, during Brown's “Year of China,” we will explore these issues - of indigeneity, the arts, and culture – in an exhibition featuring elements from the Shelley collection as well as objects collected in the field this summer by graduate student Christy DeLair, whose collecting will be sponsored by the museum.

Nathan Arndt
My work at the museum has included many aspects of collections management. I have assisted with collecting, accessioning and cataloging, spearheaded the incorporation of digital images into our museum database, and cleaned an astonishing array of artifacts. I also helped construct exhibits and worked on the archival preservation of donor papers. The lessons learned from these different roles have supplemented my study of history. It’s also given me a better understanding of the world, and the materials that we use to define ourselves. On my first day, taking a tour of the museum, I found myself in awe of the vastness of the collections and the possibilities that they held for researchers. The museum had just closed to the public, and I had the pleasure of participating in the museum’s reinvention. Reflecting on the two years of my internship, I realize how important the museum has become in my life. At the museum, I’ve worked with some

of the most significant people in my education. The museum has continued to capture my imagination and has inspired me to pursue a career in the museum community.

Nathan Arndt receives his MA in History from the University of Rhode Island this spring.


Nathanial Crockett
Working at the Collections Research Center has been a unique and wonderful experience. I was awestruck at the collections stored there, and took advantage of the opportunity to learn about many of the objects. In my work on mold mediation I learned basic conservation skills that I will very likely use in the future. I spent most of my time working on the lithic collection, some 40,000 – 60,000 objects. I went through a large part of the collection, pulling out Merrimack points from the late Archaic, as well as points from earlier periods that were missed by previous interns. I took photographs of the lithic points that were selected by past interns and entered them into the ARGUS cataloging system. It is rewarding to know that the work I did will help turn a bunch of lithic artifacts that have been stuck in an attic for about eighty years into a meaningful, useful collection.

Nathanial Crockett is an anthropology major at the University of Rhode Island.

Out of the Attic
Kevin Smith
In the early 20th century, Rudolf Haffenreffer purchased nearly 40,000 archaeological stone tools from farmers and collectors around Rhode Island and adjacent Massachusetts. At that time, these objects’ ages were unknown. Radiocarbon dating was not yet invented, few controlled excavations had demonstrated the changing sequences different projectile point types through time, and scholarly opinion assumed that Native Americans had arrived on the North American continent not long before European explorers. Collectors like Haffenreffer sorted their collections simply by form and raw material, and numbered them according to the dates they were acquired. When his private museum became part of Brown University in 1955, Haffenreffer’s regional collections came with it. The research potential of this vast collection –one of the largest in New England – was clear, but no efforts were ever made to sort the objects by age or locality, due to the daunting nature of the task itself. Finally, in the late 1990s, David Gregg, a graduate student in anthropology, organized all of the objects by their catalog numbers, making it possible to work with Haffenreffer’s catalog cards and the museum’s database to bring some order to the collection. This year, as we set up the new Collections Research Center, I began the task of reorganizing the collection with interns from the MET School and the University of Rhode Island. Starting with the first 12,000 objects, for which there are more detailed collection records, we first pulled out all of the oldest objects in the collection – Paleoindian artifacts representing the material culture of Ice Age Native Americans, the first colonists of New England. Prior to our survey, only three Paleoindian tools were known from Rhode Island. After our first sweep through the collection, we expanded that number by 600%, with similar numbers of new, previously unknown finds from adjacent parts of Massachusetts. Together, these provide an entirely new perspective on the first settlement of southern New England and are the basis for a paper I published in Current Research in the Pleistocene, with our interns as co-authors. Each subsequent sweep through the collection focuses on another period of indigenous history in New England. To this point, we have covered periods from 13,000 to 6,500 years ago. As we plot the numbers of artifacts from different periods on maps showing the locations from which Haffenreffer’s artifacts came, we can trace the ways in which ancient Native Americans relocated their settlements in response to climate change and rising sea levels. As we reorganize the collection, we are also documenting changes through time in the raw materials used for making stone tools that suggest not only increasingly broad knowledge of local resources, but also trade networks connecting distant regions, and changing selections of raw material for color that may well have had symbolic significance, as well. Where might future opportunities for research lie in these collections? We have already demonstrated that a collection this large, reorganized and well curated, has the potential to expand our understanding of the past. We are starting to work with Brown University students to use trace element analyses to connect objects of known age to geological sources, allowing us eventually to trace the movements of objects and people over great distances. Old collections, looked at anew, can contribute to current discussions in North American archaeology, and bring the archaeological record of New England into global theoretical debates.

Kevin Smith is Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the museum.


Next year!
Museums need to plan ahead – but a university museum needs to be flexible, too. Here are some of the exhibitions to look forward to next year. But there will be more, as we learn more about what will be useful to faculty and students. We’ve left room for you. Tell us what artifacts you would like to see on display, what exhibits your class would like to produce, what stories of world culture we might tell.

Over the summer, we will install CultureLab, our new study center in Manning Hall. It will include open storage of artifacts showing the range of the collections as well as artifacts requested by professors for their classes. There will also be tools for examining them and for sharing information. A dedicated group of student interpreters will be there to help make this interactive in the best way. 375th Anniversary of the Founding of Providence
In partnership with the Rhode Island Historical Society, and as part of the Providence 375 celebration, we’ll open “Customes, Manners, and Worships” – Rhode Island Begins. Come see some of the rare surviving artifacts from Native Americans and the English settlers of the 17th and early 18th century: tools, art, clothing, and books. Roger Williams’ dictionary of the Narragansett language helps us understand their meaning and use, and provides a glimpse into the lives and worldviews of these very different cultures.

Year of China
Next year Brown will host the Year of China, exploring the rich culture, economy, and politics of Greater China. The Haffenreffer Museum is delighted to participate. In the fall we’ll present new collections of material from the indigenous peoples of Taiwan, architectural elements made by the Paiwan community as well as new material collected by graduate student Christy DeLair as part of her fieldwork. And in the spring, look for an exhibition of our Taoist paintings, matched with an exhibition at the RISD Museum of Taoist robes.

El Anatsui
For the last century traditional African art has shaped the work of contemporary artists. Today, contemporary African artists create work that draws on African as well as Western traditions. El Anatsui, a Ghanaian sculptor who is perhaps the best-known African artist today, will visit Brown for a two-week residency. The Cohen Gallery in the new Granoff Center for the Creative Arts will host an exhibition of his work, and the artist will work with Brown students and community members to create a new piece of art for display in (or outside of!) Manning. El Anatsui will also select artifacts from the collections for exhibit. Our thanks to the Creative Arts Council and the Department of Africana Studies for their support.

Spinden, cont’d from p.12
mostly images Spinden used in lectures or presentations. They include copies of some of the images in the archive of prints; other photographs that appear to have been taken on the same expeditions, but that I believe are not included in the archive; maps, tables, and illustrations reproduced from books; photographs and drawings of artifacts from a wide range of cultures indigenous to the Americas; and photographs from the Spindens’ travels from the American Southwest on south to Brazil and everywhere in between. So how to choose what to publish? I selected images based on their human as well as their archaeological interest. Many of these are photographs of architecture: buildings typical of an architectural style, whether ancient or Colonial, as well as larger views of sites or modern cities. I preferred those pictures that show people as well as things. Many of these photographs are of locally recruited archaeological workers in Honduras, Guatemala, or Yucatan, the first generation to ply a craft that has in many cases been passed down from parents to children. There are also about a dozen shots of Elizabeth, Prof. Spinden’s wife, posing by, walking among, or helping to restore ruined buildings. These photographs offer a touching glimpse of the couple’s feelings toward one another. One photograph of Mrs. Spinden is labeled “La Muchacha.” A note on the back of a photograph of a church in Mexico reveals a good-natured dispute about its identity: “Elizabeth says, Mercado. I say, San Sebastian.” I have not been able to resolve the question one way or the other.


Friends Board

Jeffrey Schreck President Susan Hardy Vice President Diana Johnson Treasurer Henry Schwarz Secretary Peter Allen Edith Andrews Gina Borromeo Kristine M. Bovy Bolaji Campbell Robert Emlen David Haffenreffer Rudolf F. Haffenreffer Barbara Hail

Alice Houston Elizabeth Johnson David Kertzer Provost Catherine Lutz Chair, Department of Anthropology Cassandra Mesick Sylvia Moubayed Marianne Ruggiero Loren Spears Patricia V. Symonds Steven Lubar ex officio Kevin P. Smith ex officio

Museum Staff

Douglas Anderson Director, Circumpolar Lab Nathan Arndt Collections Intern Anthony Belz Manning Hall Greeter Justine Blount Student Media Specialist Emily Bryant Collections Intern Nicholas Carter Proctor Nathanial Crockett Collections Intern Carol Dutton Office Manager Thierry Gentis Associate Curator Rip Gerry Exhibits Preparator/ Storage Manager/Photo Archivist Barbara A. Hail Research Assoc./Curator Emerita

Geralyn Hoffman Curator of Programs and Education Steven Lubar Director Marlaina Martin Education Intern Kathy Silvia Outreach Coordinator Kevin P. Smith Deputy Director & Chief Curator Michele Hayeur Smith Museum Research Associate Emily Stokes-Rees Postdoctoral Fellow in Museum Anthropology Jessica Unger Education Intern Christopher Wolff Museum Research Associate

Back cover: Top left: Curator Cassandra Mesick leads tour of Reimagining the Americas; bottom left: "Bawon Samdi" by Samuel, from Reframing Haiti; top center: new banner at Manning Hall; bottom center: iron smelting at Bristol; top right: Salter collection of Peruvian ceramics, with student notes; bottom right: student advisory board members with their Japanese Children's Day exhibit

Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology Brown University P.O. Box 1965 Providence, RI 02912

Non-Profit Organization US Postage PAID Permit No. 202 Providence, RI

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