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
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
Thirty-five years ago I moved from the Northwest to the Northeast and began a job in the Education Department at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, MA. I was hired because I was a singer of sea songs and the Museum had a glorious collection of art and artifacts related to New England’s maritime trades. Founded by sea captains as the East India Marine Society in 1799, the PEM was both really old for an American museum and extraordinarily diverse in the geographical range of the collections. Salem mariners went everywhere a ship could go, and the items in their museum reflected that.