Six Decades at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

Tag: Mesoamerica

Barbara Hail – Curator Emerita

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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

Eugenia J. Robinson, PhD, Assistant Research Fellow, Middle American Research Institute (MARI), Tulane University, and Professor (emeritus) of Anthropology, Montgomery College

Field team of the Archaeological Project of the Kaq'chik'el Area in Tecpan, Guatemala (2011). From right to left: Juan Pablo Herrera, Marlen Garnica, Alfred Bartlett, and Eugenia Robinson.

Field team of the Archaeological Project of the Kaq’chik’el Area in Tecpan, Guatemala (2011). From right to left: Juan Pablo Herrera, Marlen Garnica, Alfred Bartlett, and Eugenia Robinson.

The Haffenreffer Museum was seminal to my development as a professional, academic archaeologist.  During my completion of an independent major at Brown in astronomy (with Dr. Charles Smiley), anthropology and art, I met Douglas Anderson.  One of my interests was Maya astronomy and iconography, but exposure in my archaeology classes to technical drawings of stone artifacts led me to ask Doug if I could try drawing some objects. He was delighted to show me arctic projectile points stored at the Haffenreffer and shared with me how to observe and represent lithic technology with line drawings. After finishing my degree, I continued to work at the Haffenreffer with its director, Jane Dwyer, and helped with the Cashinahua project by illustrating and designing the book The Cashinahua of Eastern Peru.  During this work I had an opportunity to actually handle weavings, baskets, feather headdresses and even an armadillo tail trumpet from the rainforest.  Bets Giddings and the staff at the Haffenreffer introduced me to their outreach programs for children at the museum. Working at the Haffenreffer, I learned about the anthropological perspective and material culture and I knew I wanted to pursue a career working in anthropology. Jane guided me to focus on Mesoamerican archaeology, the best fit for my interests. 

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