Cabinets of curiosities, also known as wunderkammem or wonder rooms, first appeared in mid-sixteenth century Europe as private collections of exotic and extraordinary objects. These collections, which often included objects related to many disciplines including fine art, natural history, and anthropology, can be seen as the precursors to modern museums.
The Museum of Anthropology is very excited to present MOA’s Cabinet of Curiosities, a new student-curated exhibit, which will be on display from June 16 to August 29, 2015. The exhibit evokes the aesthetic of an original cabinet of curiosity while showcasing the diversity of the Museum’s permanent collection. With objects ranging from life-sized brass leopards to Aboriginal dot paintings, from an Egyptian mummy casing to a necklace of human teeth, and from Amazonian arrows to Kachina dolls, the exhibit will inspire curiosity about peoples and cultures around the world.
Earlier this week, the Museum was featured on the 12 o’clock news on 600 AM WSJS, a local talk radio station. Interim Assistant Director Sara Cromwell was interviewed about our two featured exhibits, Understanding Our Past, Shaping Our Future and At Home on the Plains. In case you missed it, you can listen to the audio below.
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.
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.
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!
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. Continue reading »