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Penn Museum Blog


How do indigenous objects in museum collections "speak" to those who create, collect, curate, display, and observe them? The material traces in these objects obviously evoke connections to particular aesthetic values, beliefs, and practices, but do they also retain memories of the artisans who created them? Can these objects communicate across cultural and temporal boundaries? Do they have agency, outside of the people who handle them? How might the Native American objects in the Penn Museum, in particular, represent a "bundle of relations" that entangle collectors, collections, and communities?1 Students in my Fall 2017 "Anthropology of Museums" course at the University of Pennsylvania have been considering these questions while examining a selection of evocative Native American objects in the American Section of the Penn Museum.

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Available for download on Wednesday, December 05, 2018



Date Posted: 24 May 2018