Six Decades at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

Tag: North Atlantic

Michèle Hayeur Smith – Museum Research Associate, Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

Exploring a Neolithic chamber tomb with Viking runic inscriptions at Maeshowe, Orkney, during a break from presenting papers at the St. Magnus Conference, April 2016.

My experience with the Haffenreffer Museum can be divided into two stages: In 2002 I was a new mother, newly arrived in the United States from Canada, accompanying my husband, Kevin Smith, as he started his new job as Deputy Director of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown. At the same time, I was finishing up my PhD in Archaeology through the University of Glasgow and working on a book based on my doctoral research that was published in 2004.


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Janet E. Levy – Professor Emerita of Anthropology, UNC Charlotte

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

Donald H. Holly, Ph.D. (2002) – Professor of Anthropology, Eastern Illinois University, and Kristen A. Holly – Principal, Carl Sandburg Elementary

Don, Kristen, and Jordan Holly at graduation (2002)

Kristen and I arrived in Providence in a moving van in the summer of 1995 with very little money and no prospects for earning any. But I don’t recall us being too concerned about it; moving to Rhode Island was a grand adventure that gleamed through the rosy colored glasses of the young and newly-married. The plan was that I would start at Brown in the fall semester with a heavy student loan to cover the first year of graduate school and no assistantship, and Kristen, lacking any real experience in her field, would go looking for a job in education. But before that, I’d leave my wife immediately after our honeymoon—surrounded by unopened moving boxes in our new apartment in Providence—to spend the remainder of the summer on an archaeological excavation on the island of Newfoundland. What could go wrong?

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Christopher B. Wolff — Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University at Albany-SUNY

Chris Wolff at Þingvellir National Park, Iceland, 2009

As a Research Associate of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, I have had an interactive and collaborative relationship with the Museum’s Circumpolar Laboratory since 2011. The extensive history that the museum has with Arctic peoples and their material culture is, for me, one of the main attractions of the institution. As an archaeologist who investigates the complex relationship between northern hunter-gatherer populations and the dynamics of Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems, the collections of Louis Giddings, Doug Anderson, and others have been invaluable. Continue reading

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