Six Decades at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

Tag: Exhibitions (Page 1 of 3)

The author has had a hand in the design, formulation, and/or installation of exhibits at the museum.

Barbara Nicholson – Pembroke ’60

Sixty years ago, when I was an undergraduate, the Haffenreffer Museum didn’t exist. As it developed we heard about it, but it was “way over” in Bristol. We young ladies at Pembroke didn’t venture much beyond Thayer St., so I spent 4 years never having seen that special place. I’m not even sure I knew what anthropology was!

Many decades later, having been a public school teacher for 30 years and then retiring back to RI in 1998, I became involved with a vibrant group of lifelong learners on the Brown campus (called BCLIR – Brown Community for Learning in Retirement). It was exciting to be back on campus, taking semester long collaborative learning courses, soaking up new ideas. Continue reading

Stephen L. Dyson—SUNY Distinguished Professor, Classics Department, University at Buffalo

Memories of J. Louis Giddings

My first contact with Louis Giddings and the Haffenreffer Museum came in the late summer of 1956. I had worked the previous year as a volunteer docent at the old Providence Museum, doing guided tours of the Pacific Ethnographic Collections. It was a bit of a stretch for a budding student of classical archaeology, but most people visiting the gallery knew less than I did. It also expanded my interest in museums and in material culture beyond Greek sculpture and Roman portraits.

During that time Brown announced the gift to the university of Rudolf Haffenreffer’s King Philip Museum, in Bristol, by the Haffenreffer family. The acquisition was a rather bold step for a university that had no Anthropology Department, no museum, and no real tradition of field archaeology. Brown was at that time a rather sleepy place with none of the trendy glamour of today. However, it displayed a strong interest in undergraduate education. Brown was an ideal place for a public school graduate like myself, who wanted to pursue a career in Classics and Archaeology.

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Barbara Hail – Curator Emerita

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

Allison Pappas – Graduate Student, Department of History of Art & Architecture, Brown University

In the first few days of my sophomore year at Brown, I sat down for a meeting with Matthew Gutmann, then the undergraduate advisor for the department of Anthropology, to review my coursework plans as a newly-declared concentrator.  We discussed my interests and the fact that I was also concentrating in the History of Art and Architecture, and Professor Gutmann told me that there was a class I needed to take.  He warned me that the professors might not seem inclined to give me a spot, since I was young and it was a graduate seminar, but that I should talk my way into the room no matter what. 

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Margot Schevill – Textile and Folk Art Consultant

Jim Schevill and I moved to Providence in 1969 for what we thought was one year, as he was invited to develop Brown’s Creative Writing Program with Edwin Honig. My previous career had been as an opera and concert singer in the Bay Area, and I had attended the University of California for one year before I married the first time. We both enjoyed living in Rhode Island, and Jim was offered a tenured position in the English Department.

He resigned from S.F. State and we moved to the east side of Providence. I met Charlotte Lowney who encouraged me to attend Pembroke College and finish my undergraduate degree – which I did majoring in Music and Spanish. During that time, with Gerard Shapiro, of the Music Department, we formed The New Music Ensemble of Providence that performed contemporary classical chamber music, and I was the singer.

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