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.

WFU Interns Begin Work at the Museum

Yidan Fu working with Chinese ceramics

Intern Yidan Fu unwraps Chinese ceramics from the Lam Collection

This semester, four Wake Forest students are completing internships with the MOA staff.  Each internship includes a study of anthropological literature as well as a hands-on project.

Museum Director Stephen Whittington is supervising junior history major Yidan Fu as she conducts research into the Lam Collection of Chinese ceramics.  Yidan’s research will be the foundation for a new long-term exhibit featuring the ceramics, which will open in 2013.

Two students are working with Registrar & Collections Manager Kyle Bryner.  Demone Jackson, a junior anthropology major, and Kathryn Rolhwing, a senior anthropology major, will research and create an exhibit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Museum of Anthropology in 2013.

Museum Educator Tina Smith is working with Keirah Carmichael, a junior anthropology minor, who will create lesson plans and activities for two of the Museum’s outreach kits, as well as learn to present one of the Museum’s K-12 curriculum-based programs.

The interns have created blogs to document the progress of their readings and projects.  They can be accessed via the following links:

Yidan Fu Blog
Demone Jackson Blog
Kathryn Rohlwing Blog
Keirah Carmichael Blog

Días de los Muertos (Days of the Dead) Exhibition Opens Sept. 11

The Museum of Anthropology will display its annual Días de los Muertos (Days of the Dead) exhibit from Sept. 11 through Dec. 14.

The exhibit features a traditional Mexican ofrenda — a home altar with sugar skulls, colorful tissue paper cutouts of skeletons, food and beverage offerings, marigolds and photos of deceased relatives.  A children’s ofrenda and photographs illustrating different aspects of the celebration will also be on display. The exhibit features text in English and Spanish.

The Days of the Dead is an ancient religious celebration that originally honored children and the dead. It has evolved to incorporate a blend of ancient Indian and Christian features. The celebration is considered a festive time when family members remember and honor their dead and the continuity of life.