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MOA Director Leaving for New Post

SteveExhibitWebDr. Stephen L. Whittington has tendered his resignation as Director of the Museum of Anthropology, effective February 28.  He will become Executive Director of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in Leadville, Colorado, in March.

The Museum’s staff and students have accomplished many things under Whittington’s leadership over the past 12 years including the following highlights:

  • National, regional, and state award-winning publications, exhibits, website, and collections preservation efforts.
  • More than $400,000 in grants from agencies and foundations, including three from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and two from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • Digital access to everything in the collections through the Online Artifact and Archives Databases.
  • Vibrant and popular K-12 educational programs that successfully weathered “No Child Left Behind” and changes to the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.
  • Collections cataloged and inventoried in a safe and secure storage facility.
  • Up-to-date governing documents, including a collections plan, disaster response plan, and statement of ethics.
  • Improved quality and scope of collections through acquisitions, especially the MAW, Rilling, Lam, Salgo, and Wachovia Historical Society donations.
  • Collaborations with Delta Arts Center, Guilford Native American Art Gallery, Reynolda House Museum of American Art, St. Bonaventure University, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School District, and Wake Forest departments and offices.
  • Culturally diverse and increasingly empowered Advisory Board.

Regarding his departure, Whittington said, “I want to thank the members of the MOA Advisory Board and MOA Friends for their encouragement and support and Wake Forest University for providing the collections with a safe and secure off-site curation facility.  I particularly want to acknowledge my hard-working and dedicated staff through the years, Beverlye Hancock, Myrna Mackin, Kim Robertson, Anne Gilmore, Sara Cromwell, Kyle Bryner, and Tina Smith, as well as numerous student employees and interns, without whom none of these accomplishments would have been possible.”

Following Whittington’s departure, an interim leadership team will take over his duties.  Sara Cromwell will serve as interim assistant director with responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the Museum, and Dr. Steven Folmar, assistant professor in the anthropology department, will serve as interim academic director.

Graves Lecture Video Now Available

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Dr. Joseph L. Graves Jr. visited Wake Forest University to present “Evolutionary Versus Racial Medicine: Why It Matters” on February 6, 2014.

Dr. Graves is the Associate Dean for Research at the Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering, North Carolina A&T University and UNC Greensboro.  He is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Section G: Biological Sciences and was named to the National Science Foundation’s Sensational Sixty in 2013.  He has published over sixty papers and book chapters and appeared in six documentary films and numerous television interviews.

In his presentation, Dr. Graves discussed the biological and social definitions of race.  He explained how these concepts differ and why conflating the two has had disastrous consequences for biomedical research and clinical practice.  Graves will also discuss why understanding basic evolutionary mechanisms are indispensable for comprehending human biological variation and how these in turn may be applied to addressing ongoing health disparities.

A video of this lecture is now available here.

This event was sponsored by the Wake Forest Museum of Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, Department of Biology, Department of Sociology, American Ethnic Studies Program, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Center for Bioethics, Health, and Society, Institute for Public Engagement, and Humanities Institute.

MOA Receives NEH Grant

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently selected the Museum of Anthropology as a grantees.  The Museum was one of only three institutions in North Carolina chosen to receive funding for 2013.  The NEH awarded the MOA a grant of $5,022 for wall mounted art storage screens.  Registrar and Collections Manager Kyle Bryner developed the project in order to complete the final stages of rehousing the permanent collection in the Museum’s offsite storage facility.  The screens will provide a storage solution for the collection’s oversize weaponry, including arrows, bows, spears, harpoons, and staffs, as well as other tools and weapons too large to fit on compact storage shelves.  The screens will also allow for proper storage of large framed objects such as two Comanche painted hides and a framed collection of North Carolina projectile points.  The grant is part of $14.6 million awarded by the NEH to 202 projects in 43 states and the District of Columbia.

 

Conservation Fundraising Focuses on Yoruba Object

House of the HeadBGnewsIn November, the Museum launched its annual campaign to support the “Save Our Hide” Conservation Fund.  This account allows tax-deductible donations to be set aside to restore important artifacts to their former glory so they can be placed on exhibit, furthering the Museum’s mission to provide opportunities for intercultural learning.  This year, the Museum staff selected a Yoruba object from Nigeria known as a house of the head, or ile ori, as the focus of the fundraising drive.  The Yoruba believe that the head is the seat of a life force that determines a person’s essential nature and destiny.  The house of the head shrine is designed to contain a person’s inner spiritual essence.  It is the center of rituals and offerings to ensure good fortune and an ideal fate.  The Museum’s house of the head is made of cloth embellished with colored glass beads.  Due to its condition, it must be stabilized before it can be exhibited for the first time.  The help of our patrons is essential to completing the conservation of this artifact.  Please contact Sara Cromwell at or 336.758.5282 if you are interested in providing financial assistance for this important project.

 

MOA to Showcase Lakota Quilts and Crafts

The Museum of Anthropology  will feature Creating: Quilts and Crafts of the Lakota from November 5, 2013 to January 25, 2014.  The exhibition combines two independent but related exhibits. Creating: Quilts of the Lakota is organized by The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, and the Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania.  Contemporary Creations: Arts and Crafts by Lakota Artists is organized by C-H Jacobson Produktion AB of Stockholm, Sweden.   The combined exhibit presents 20 eye-dazzling quilts and 32 items of apparel and dance regalia made in traditional style by Lakota artisans.

The MOA will share the combined exhibit with Delta Arts Center, also in Winston-Salem.  Each venue will display about half of the quilts and crafts. For the complete experience, visitors are encouraged to visit both museums.

Quilting has long been a part of the cultural heritage of the Lakota Sioux in South Dakota. However, some of the most exquisite works produced by tribe members have never been seen outside of the reservation. The exhibit highlights outstanding examples of 20th century and contemporary works.  Although similar in construction to other American quilts, the iconography of these Lakota textiles reflect a Sioux Oclala religious and cultural heritage that is largely unknown in this part of the country. The insertion of symbols from popular culture (e.g. the basketball or flag) as well makes these works different from other folk textiles.

The contemporary, traditional Lakota crafts in the exhibit were made by members of different Lakota tribes across South Dakota between 1982 and 1992.  The craftspeople are considered to be among the best and most skilled in their fields.  Crafts play an important role in the preservation of tribal traditions as artisans often teach the younger members of their families the necessary skills.

For the exhibition’s opening on November 5, the Swedish curators of the exhibit’s crafts, Claes Jacobson and Eva Anderson, will present “The Legacy of John Anderson’s 45 years at Rosebud: Photographers and Artists Preserving Lakota Cultural Heritage,” an illustrated lecture, at 7:00 p.m. at the Museum.

Creating: Quilts and Crafts of the Lakota is supported by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, a Milton Rhodes Innovative Project Grant from The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, a Winston-Salem Partners in the Humanities Project Grant from the Humanities Institute at Wake Forest University, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Wake Forest University.

MOA Joins Smithsonian’s Museum Day Live!

The Museum of Anthropology is pleased to announce its participation in Smithsonian magazine’s ninth annual Museum Day Live! on Saturday, September 28.  A nationwide event, Museum Day Live! offers free admission to visitors presenting a Museum Day Live! ticket at a participating museum or cultural institution.

Inclusive by design, the event represents Smithsonian’s commitment to making learning and the spread of knowledge accessible to everyone.  Museums across all 50 states will have the opportunity to emulate the admission policy of the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C.  Last year, more than 400,000 people attended Museum Day Live! across the United States.

“Although the Museum of Anthropology will continue to offer free admission to all visitors, we are excited to be able to share in the Smithsonian Institution’s celebration of arts, culture, and knowledge,” said PR, Marketing & Membership Coordinator Sara Cromwell.

Visitors to the Museum of Anthropology can explore global cultures through artifacts from the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.  The two featured exhibits are Celebrating 50 Years of the Museum of Anthropology, and Life After Death: The Day of the Dead in Mexico.

Visitors can download the Museum Day Live! ticket and find a complete list of participating museums at cultural institutions at smithsonian.com/museumday. Visitors who present the ticket will gain free admission for two at participating venues.