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New Benefits Coming Soon to MOA Friends

As a part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the Museum will launch a revised MOA Friends membership program with great new benefits for members beginning July 1, 2013.  Among the new benefits that the staff is most excited to offer are two reciprocal membership programs – the Southeastern Reciprocal Membership Program, which will be available at the Family level, and the North American Reciprocal Museum Program, which will be available at the Patron level.  These programs will grant the MOA Friends free admission at a number of museums across the region and the continent, respectively.  Other new benefits will be member access to the Museum’s research library and the opportunity to receive staff-led tours of the exhibits and behind-the-scenes spaces.

There will be a small increase in the donation amount for some membership levels; however, the restructured program will also include a senior (65+) discount and a Wake Forest faculty and staff discount, which will be applicable to all membership levels.  Renewal dates for current members will not change, and the new benefits will go into effect on July 1.  All membership levels will remain fully tax-deductible.  Please stay tuned for more information about the revised program in the coming months.

MOA Staff Member Honored

Kyle Bryner shows off her award.

Kyle Elizabeth Bryner, registrar and collections manager at the Wake Forest Museum of Anthropology, received the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) Emerging Museum Professional Award at the SEMC Annual Conference.  The award, initiated in 2007, recognizes museum professionals with less than 10 years of experience who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in museum activities at their institutions, and within the museum profession as a whole, and especially in the southeast region.

Kyle has been the registrar and collections manager at the Museum since 2005, and she is responsible for all aspects of collections management.  In receiving the award, she was recognized for her efforts promoting the Museum’s online collections database as a resource, leading a massive transformation of the Museum’s collections storage, and initiating the “Save Our Hide” Conservation Fund campaign, which has raised more than $5,000 to date.  Kyle was also commended for regularly presenting sessions at conferences including SEMC and the American Alliance of Museums, co-authoring publications on collections management topics, and serving on the board of the North Carolina Museums Council.

Stephen Whittington, director of the Museum, stated, “We are proud that Kyle has received this honor.  She is detail-oriented, very efficient, and always looking for ways to do her job better.”

Kyle received an engraved plaque and a unique ceramic pitcher by potter Daniel Johnston of Seagrove, North Carolina.  In addition, SEMC will credit $500 toward the Alderson Fellowships, a component of the SEMC Endowment, in her name and honor.

MOA Recognized for Preservation Excellence

Registrar and Collections Manager Kyle Bryner (right) accepts the award from NCPC President KaeLi Schurr.

The Museum of Anthropology received the North Carolina Preservation Consortium’s (NCPC) inaugural Award for Collection Preservation Excellence during the NCPC Annual Conference earlier this month. The award honors those committed to collections preservation and is intended to raise public awareness of the organizational and philanthropic funding so vital for preservation resources.

LeRae Umfleet, chief of collections management for the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, and her Connecting to Collections project team members Adrienne Berney and Matt Hunt, recognized the efforts of several museum staff members in their nomination.  They praised Director Stephen Whittington for his vision and dedication to improve the museum’s preservation program.  Registrar and Collections Manager Kyle Elizabeth Bryner was commended for her role in the implementation of best practices.  Sara Cromwell, public relations, marketing and membership coordinator, was also recognized for her contributions to preservation fundraising.

During the award presentation NCPC President KaeLi Schurr declared, “In selecting the Museum of Anthropology, the North Carolina Preservation Consortium Board of Directors recognizes an organization that has demonstrated an outstanding strategy for long-term preservation and conservation planning.”

After a decade of sustained effort, the Museum of Anthropology has a fully inventoried collection, a collections management plan, a long-range conservation plan, an emergency response plan, and a collections storage facility equipped with climate control, fire detection and suppression systems, artifact mounts, and compact shelving. The support of the Office of Provost, Dean of the College, and Facilities and Campus Services was instrumental to the creation of collections storage space for the museum in the University’s off-site storage facility.

G. Whitney Azoy, Afghanistan Expert, to visit Wake Forest

G. Whitney Azoy, a Pulitzer Prize nominated scholar, author and expert on the culture and politics of Afghanistan, will visit Wake Forest on Nov. 12-13.

Azoy has been involved with Afghanistan for 40 years, as a U.S. diplomat in Kabul and as an anthropologist. He is the author of “Buzkashi: Game and Power in Afghanistan” and more than 100 op-ed newspaper pieces in the aftermath of 9/11. He has served as a consultant for numerous government and non-government organizations, collaborated with the International Security and Assistance Force and the U.S. Army’s Counter-Intelligence Academy, and spent three years directing the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies in Kabul. In October 2011, he was one of six internationals invited by the Afghan National Security Council to attend that country’s first Presidential Study Group.

Azoy has been awarded four Fulbright grants, participated in the National Geographic documentary “Quest for the Blue Mountain,” and founded an Afghan scholarship program.

During his visit, he will lead class discussions in anthropology, history, and politics and international affairs

The following events are open to the public: Continue reading »

Staff Members to Present at SEMC Annual Meeting

The Museum of Anthropology will be closed Wednesday, November 7 through Friday, November 9, while the museum staff attends the Southeastern Museum Conference Annual Meeting in Williamsburg, VA.

Museum Educator Tina Smith will present “Just Ask: A Conversation Between Museum Leaders and the Blind Community About Accessibility” with Michael Hudson, director of the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, KY.

Registrar and Collections Manager Kyle Bryner will present “In the Aftermath of Putting Collections Online: True Stories of What Happens Next” with representatives of the Kentucky Historical Society, the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, and the Speed Museum of Art.

Director Stephen Whittington will moderate the session “Sustainability in Academic Museums” with panel members from the Reeves Center at Washington & Lee College and the McKissick Museum at the University of South Carolina.

The Museum will be open on its regular schedule (10:00am to 4:30pm) on Saturday, November 10.

New Exhibit Showcases Asian Saddle Rugs

Persian Saddle Rug“Weaving along the Silk Road: Amazing Asian Saddle Rugs” is a colorful, long-term exhibit opening in the Museum of Anthropology on Sept. 25.

The exhibit focuses on the geographic area defined by the Silk Road, a trade and communications network that extended on land from China to Constantinople (now Istanbul) beginning in the first century BCE. Using materials obtained from their flocks and plants, women in cultures along the Silk Road have traditionally woven beautiful saddle rugs, first on portable looms in tents, later on larger looms in village houses, and finally in city workshops and factories.

Saddle covers make sitting on saddles for long periods more comfortable for equestrians. Horse covers help to keep the animals warm and protect their backs from the saddles. The exhibit explores these and other surprising ways saddle rugs function, including in ceremonies and sports.

Ella Douglas, a senior anthropology major at Wake Forest University, worked with museum director Stephen Whittington last spring to plan “Weaving along the Silk Road.” She researched saddle rugs and the cultures that have used them, located photographs of saddle rugs in use, wrote drafts of text and labels, and helped to develop the exhibit’s layout.

The exhibit features weavings and saddles from Turkmen tribal groups in Turkey and Afghanistan, Persian villages and cities, Tibet, and China, all drawn from Nicolas Salgo’s collection of saddle rugs, amassed from the 1940s through the end of the 20th century. The Salgo Trust for Education donated the rugs to the Museum of Anthropology in 2011. The late Nicolas Salgo was U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and Ambassador-at-Large during the 1980s.