In the first two months of 2018, the Museum of Anthropology will open four new exhibits. We are very excited about this opportunity to discuss new topics, showcase student research, and display different selections from our collection.
Human Evolution: Hot Topics in Paleoanthropology opened in January as the first MOA exhibit focusing on evolution in more than 20 years. Students in Dr. Ellen Miller’s Anthropology 366: Human Evolution class researched individual topics and then translated the information into exhibit format. The exhibition features fossil models, images, and reconstructions to tell the story of how human beings developed into the most unique species on the planet. The focus is not on the information we already know about human evolution, but on the “hot topics” still being investigated, including how fossilized bones and artifacts hold clues about how ancient hominins walked, climbed, gave birth, hunted, created tools, and adapted to new environments. Faculty and students in the newly formed Wake Forest Department of Engineering assisted several Anthropology students with 3D printing fossil models that are included as hands-on objects. The exhibit will be on display through December 7.
In late January, the Museum opened Japan through the Photographer’s Lens, which will feature two different sets of loaned photographs over the course of the exhibition. Although Japan is often seen as a high-tech society and an economic leader in industry and manufacturing, it is also a society that reflects on its deep roots and historical traditions. The exhibit presents photography by artists documenting traditional Japanese culture. On display through March 17, works by Japanese photographer Hideo Haga capture the celebration of folk festivals in Tohoku, a region of northern Japan. From March 20 to October 6, works by Morton Huber document change and tradition in everyday life in the Chubu region of central Japan. The images are accompanied by Japanese objects from the MOA’s collections including a newly acquired wedding kimono. The exhibit is co-curated by Nana Watanobe, Japan Outreach Initiative Coordinator at the Museum.
On display from February 6 through May 12, Mother Goddess: Fertility Figures from the Ancient Mediterranean showcases a recently donated collection of fertility figures along with student research from Dr. Leann Pace’s Religion 313: Near Eastern Archaeology class. Sculpted in stone, clay, and metal, the female figures on display in this exhibit provided a tangible connection to the divine for the people of the ancient Near East. Many of the figures represent well-known characters from classical mythology. It was these myths that inspired Americans in the 19th century to travel to the Mediterranean and collect antiquities, ultimately forming the very collections on display in museums today. This exhibit is presented in conjunction with the exhibit Frederic Church: A Painter’s Pilgrimage at Reynolda House Museum of American Art.
You can read about the Museum’s fourth new exhibit, Stories of Humanity: Anthropology in North Carolina here.