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On the Wampum Trail: Restorative Research in North American Museums


In May 2014, three members of the “Wampum Trail” research team (Dr. Margaret Bruchac with research assistants Lise Puyo and Stephanie Mach) set out to follow a century-old trail left by University of Pennsylvania anthropologist Frank G. Speck. Our field research led us across the Northeastern United States and Canada, visiting museums with collections of wampum (woven shell bead) belts and collars. Our goal is survey these collections and conduct interviews to construct more detailed object histories for wampum belts in regional collections. With funding from the Penn Museum and the Department of Anthropology, we made an ambitious list of wampum in museum collections to examine. Our areas of focus included: collections that illustrate wampum manufacture (for example, Fort Shantok in Connecticut and the Campbell site in New Jersey); wampum belts connected with the Seven Nations Confederacy; and collections linked to Frank Speck (one of the founders of the Penn Department of Anthropology).


This is an archived copy of a blogpost from Margaret Bruchac's research blog,

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Date Posted: 25 May 2018