Barry Bainton, 2017
“6 days ago, December 12th, Dr. Giddings died – as the result of an automobile accident. I have lost a great teacher and even greater friend. I only hope that I can be half as good an anthropologist as he. God – how I wish IT hadn’t happened,” (p.32, of My Peace Corps Journal, Friday December 18th 1964).
Dr. Giddings (the only Brown Professor I had who was always “Doctor” to me) was a teacher, mentor, and friend during my undergraduate career at Brown. After I graduated, a year after my entering class, I joined the newly created Peace Corps and was sent to Peru. Dr. Giddings encouraged me to make a collection of ethnographic artifacts for the Museum while I was there. I left for Peru a month after the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (August 7th, 1964). This marked the formal start of the United States’ involvement in the Viet Nam War. Three months later, I received a letter along with a newspaper clipping from Judy Huntsman, Dr. Giddings’ graduate student and fellow worker at the Museum, announcing his death. Two years later, I returned to Rhode Island with the collection. Continue reading
All Things Related
Hail at the Brooklyn Museum when consultant for TIPI exhibit, 2011.
In 1955 the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology transformed from a private collection with few viewers to a university museum with a diversified audience and a profound commitment to the indigenous peoples, world-wide, whose artifacts the museum held. Douglas Anderson embedded this philosophy into our first mission statement, writing that we have a responsibility to the communities from whom our collections have come. Continue reading
I can remember the days of Bets Giddings, Barbara Hail and me and at the beginning of our reinventing school groups’ introductions to museum education. In the beginning a great deal of our involvement at the Museum came from sitting on Bets’ deck overlooking Mount Hope Bay and discussing the ways we could develop a program for school kids that would not be a tour of the exhibits with the kids standing glassy-eyed and bored.
Janet, 1978, at 15Bt5, Carlson Annis site, western Kentucky.
The truth is that I never visited the Haffenreffer Museum while I was a student at Brown (1967-1971) even though I was an anthropology major. In those days, like most undergraduate students, I did not keep a car in Providence (or even own a car, for that matter) and, as far as I know, there was no other way to access the museum. It was a kind of “stealth” facility of the university. In fact, I’m rather surprised to discover that this is only the 60th anniversary of the Haffenreffer. In Fall 2017, I myself will have been a member of the Brown community for 50 years, and I assumed that the Haffenreffer had “always” been there. Continue reading
I’d like to tell a brief story of my first encounter with Dr. Louis Giddings, because I think it gives good insight into the educator and extraordinarily kind, generous, and modest man that he was as both professor of anthropology and director of the Haffenreffer Museum.