Six Decades at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

Tag: Research (Page 2 of 5)

The author participated in research projects during their time at the museum, or as part of their career beyond the museum.

Becky DeAngelo (Brown ‘95.5) – Museum Assistant, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Anthropology Division

It is not an exaggeration to say that the Haffenreffer Museum and its Circumpolar Lab, housed within the museum complex on the Grant of Mount Hope, changed the course of my life. I arrived at Brown after a summer learning about glacial mechanics and our warming planet through the Juneau Icefield Research Program. It was there that my appreciation for the plants and animals that thrive in very harsh conditions and the beauty of those conditions themselves was fostered. Continue reading

Bill Simmons (Part I) – Professor of Anthropology, Brown University

PART I: REFLECTIONS ON LOUIS GIDDINGS AND THE HAFFENREFFER’S EARLY YEARS

I first met Louis Giddings at an interview in University Hall in spring of my freshman year, 1957. I had applied for a campus job and the application asked for information about work experience, interests, etc. that might fit with campus hiring needs. By job, I assumed it would be something like waiting tables in the Refectory and was very surprised to learn that my interview would be with Professor Giddings, the Director of the Haffenreffer Museum. I had been interested in local (i.e. Providence, Cranston, Warwick) archaeology and accumulated a small collection of surface finds of arrowheads and other stone tools and had read lots on the subject and had been a member of the Narragansett Archaeological Society. Professor Giddings asked a few questions and offered me a position working with the Museum’s collections. I have never ceased thanking my lucky stars. Professor Giddings was the most kind and influential faculty member I knew at Brown.
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Terry Childs – Manager, Department of the Interior, Museum Program

I knew I wanted to be an archaeologist in the 6th grade and actually got to go on a dig when I was a junior in high school in 1970.  There weren’t any archaeological field schools for high school students in those days, but my grandparents found out about one that was “experimenting” with teaching high school kids and sent me to New Mexico (from Connecticut).  I loved it and set my sights on archaeology as my career.  That meant finding a college/university with a good archaeology undergrad program.  Brown quickly became my #1 choice, especially after reading a National Geographic article about the work of James Deetz. Continue reading

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

Brooke S. Bocast – Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa)

My field-collecting assistant, Susan Nambi, and me in Philadelphia in 2013.

When I entered Brown’s Anthropology PhD program in 2003, I had no intention of interning at the Haffenreffer Museum (nor knowledge of the museum’s existence), but when the opportunity presented itself, I thrilled to it. I enjoy being around old things, exploring fashion far and wide, and holding objects in my hands while imagining their provenience. My first task at the Museum fit this bill – I worked alone in the quiet, dimly lit gallery, labeling and archiving a collection of Latin American textiles. I sewed tiny labels onto each article of clothing, taking care not to disturb the fabric’s warp and weft. Here I nurtured an affinity for material culture that I later parlayed into curatorial fellowships at Temple University’s Center for the Humanities and Northwestern University’s Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies.

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