Sara Cromwell

Cherokee and Plains Indians Exhibits On Display

The Museum  is focusing on American Indian culture this spring with a pair of featured exhibits and associated programs. Understanding Our Past, Shaping Our Future, an exhibition about Cherokee language and culture, will be on exhibit through May 29, 2015, and At Home on the Plains, a mini-exhibit on Plains Indian culture, will be on display through August 29, 2015.

Cherokee exhibit webx

Understanding Our Past, Shaping Our Future is a traveling exhibition developed by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in partnership with Cherokee Central Schools, Southwestern Community College, and Western Carolina University, with funding provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  A community team held monthly discussions with native Cherokee speakers to develop the ideas and images that make up the exhibit. Major themes include Cherokee Homeland, Heritage Sites, Tourism, Family, and Community Celebrations.  Exhibit visitors can access the Cherokee language conversations via smart phone QR codes to hear the sound and cadence of the spoken language while looking at the text in both English and Cherokee. A selection of contemporary Cherokee objects from the MOA’s collection are also on display. The exhibit’s appearance at the Museum of Anthropology is cosponsored by the Wake Forest University Linguistics Program, Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Department of Religion.

The MOA is presenting At Home on the Plains as part of a collaboration with Reynolda House Museum of American Art during their exhibition of George Catlin’s American Buffalo. At Home on the Plains showcases the Plains Indians objects in the MOA’s permanent collection. Highlights include beaded moccasins from the Cree and Lakota Sioux tribes as well as two rare Comanche painted hide robes, on display together for the first time. The artifacts in the exhibit present an exclusive look at the material culture of Plains tribes during the Historic Period. As an additional part of this collaboration, the MOA also has a small exhibit of photographs that emphasize the modern day lives of the various tribes painted by George Catlin in the 1830s. For each tribe represented in George Catlin’s American Buffalo, the MOA features a representative image of a Catlin work, a historical photograph, and a modern day photograph, along with a current description of the tribe. The MOA staff will also host Plains Indians craft activities and present hands-on Native American artifacts at the Community Day: Pow Wow Cultural Festival presented by Reynolda House and Guilford Native American Association on Reynolda’s front lawn on Saturday, April 11.

Summer Camp Registration is Open

The MOA is very excited to announce that registration is now open for two 2015 summer programs focusing on the Aboriginal people of Australia.

The Museum will offer three one-week sessions of “An Australian Adventure” Summer Camp: July 6-10, July 13-17, and July 20-24.  Using music, art, stories, games, and other activities campers will learn about the culture and traditions of the Aboriginal people of Australia.  This half-day camp is designed for children ages 6 to 12.  The fee is $125 ($100 for MOA Friends) for a one week session, which includes all supplies and daily refreshments. Each session is limited to 15 children.

For the third year, the Museum will also offer a one-day workshop for teens, ages 12 to 16.  “Dots Galore” will take place on Monday, July 27, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  The Aboriginal people of Australia are famous for dot painting.  Looking at different types of dot painted works, teens will learn how they are created, why dots are used, and what the symbols mean.  Using dot painted artworks in the museum’s collection as inspiration, participants will create their own dot covered art piece.  The fee is $45 ($30 for MOA Friends), which includes all supplies and a snack.  The workshop is limited to 10 participants.

Download the registration forms for both programs here!


MOA Featured on North Carolina Weekend

Last week, the Museum had the privilege of being featured on the UNC-TV program North Carolina Weekend.  You can watch the segment below.

Ticuna Body Mask

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The Ticuna (also known as Tukuna or Tikuna) live in the Amazon rain forest of Brazil, near the borders of Peru and Colombia. They were among the first major Amazonian tribes to come into contact with Europeans. However, despite the passing of more than 400 years, the Ticuna have preserved their traditional religion, rituals, language, and art forms. They are one of the last remaining large indigenous populations in Brazil. The Ticuna are known especially for their ritual masks and costumes. This body mask is made predominantly of bark cloth, a paper-like fabric made from the inner bark of certain trees, with raffia fringe. It features a pigmented beeswax face and emphasized male genitalia. Traditionally, this type of mask is worn by men during girls’ initiation ceremonies. Men also create the masks. Vegetable dyes were used to paint the cartoon wolf image on the front of the mask, making it a unique blend of traditional form and modern influence.






MOA Seeks Academic Director

Wake Forest University’s Department of Anthropology invites applications for a permanent, full-time, faculty position of Academic Director of the Museum of Anthropology, beginning July 1, 2015.

The successful candidate will hold a PhD in anthropology with specialization complementing that of existing faculty. Creativity and experience in museum anthropology including exhibit curation, curriculum development, and community outreach is expected. The holder of this position will teach three classes per academic year including an introductory class in museum anthropology, specialized courses related to museum studies, and classes in applicable fields of anthropological expertise.  The candidate will shape and direct the future academic mission of the Museum, including maintaining its collections, engaging students, and developing its exhibits. Experience in seeking external funding for outreach and research is desired.  We are especially interested in the new Academic Director developing dynamic programming making optimal use of our own ethnographic and archaeological collections.
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Pueblo Pottery Nativity Set

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This seven-piece nativity scene was made in Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico, just north of Santa Fe. Santa Clara potters are renowned for their highly polished blackware, which they have been making since the late 19th century. Pueblo women make pottery with a technique largely developed during the Classic Pueblo period (1050-1300 CE). Although the nativity set pieces were each molded from a small lump of clay, Pueblo pots are made from coils of clay that are then smoothed into the final shape without the help of a potter’s wheel. The shiny finish is created by the artist rubbing a smooth polishing stone over the piece repeatedly. The pieces are finished in a reduction firing during which the artist smothers the fire with horse manure, which traps thick smoke around the pieces. The carbon in the smoke turns the clay black. The process has many possibilities for problems, and only three out of five pieces emerge from the fire without damage, making Pueblo blackware rare and highly collectible.