I came to Brown in the fall of 1966 as a graduate student in anthropology.  Lou Giddings had died a few years earlier, but his influence was still strong and his widow, Betsy, was continuing his work at the museum.  I visited the museum several times a year during my graduate years and there was always a department party on the museum grounds each spring.  Doug and Wanni Anderson lived in the small house on the water and Betsy was in the “big house.” Although I eventually focused on cultural anthropology for my doctoral work, my MA was in archaeology, supervised by Jim Deetz. None of my MA work involved artifacts from the museum, but I continued to visit and view the collections and used some as a subject for a paper I wrote for Alex Ricciardelli, then a professor of anthropology at Brown.

In 1972 I began teaching at Rhode Island College where I remained until my retirement in 2014.  Most of my teaching was in cultural anthropology, but at least once a year I taught an archaeology course and often referred my students to the Haffenreffer (although few went). In 1985 I gave a lecture at the Museum on my field work in Greece. And in 2012 I joined the board of the Friends of the Haffenreffer on which I still serve.  

I believe it is an important collection that deserves a permanent home on the Brown campus and, although I am not in a position to do much about that, I have been a big advocate of that move for years.



Peter Allen graduated from Middlebury College in 1966 with a major in Anthropology and Sociology. He received a Master’s degree in Anthropology from Brown University with a specialty in Archaeology in 1968. He continued in the doctoral program at Brown, conducting almost 2 years of anthropological research in southern Greece. In 1972 he received his PhD from Brown and began teaching Anthropology and Archaeology at Rhode Island College in Providence that same year.  Dr. Allen’s main research interests are social and cultural change, identity, ethnoarchaeology, and visual anthropology/archaeology. He has conducted fieldwork in Greece and Cyprus over the course of almost 40 years and has had grants from NDEA, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, Plimoth Plantation, Brown University, the Joint Expedition to Idalion Cyprus, Rhode Island College Faculty Research grants, Rhode Island College Faculty Development grants, Fulbright Summer Seminar, Fulbright Faculty Research Abroad grants, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities.

Dr. Allen retired from Rhode Island College in 2014, but continues to be active professionally, attending meetings, giving papers, publishing,  etc. He also serves on a number of non-profit boards, including those of the Public Archaeology Laboratory, College Year in Athens, Anatolia College, Historic Harrisville, Inc., and several others not directly related to his profession.