Annual Recap from ASM Director Beth Grindell
Beth Grindell, Ph.D., RPA. Photo by Jannelle Weakly
June 30, 2012
This past fiscal year has been a busy one at Arizona State Museum with many accomplishments within every division. Many of the museum’s successes are possible only because of caring and generous individuals such as yourself. We thank you!
Topping the list this year we received a $400,000 federal grant from Save America’s Treasures for the preservation of our Woven Wonders of American Heritage. This project, led by Dr. Nancy Odegaard, our head conservator, set the stage for a full-scale fund-raising campaign. We are in the midst of raising an additional $500,000 to construct a climate-controlled “visible vault” with a new interpretive space attached. The vault will house some 25,000 specimens, which include not only baskets, but cradleboards, sandals, mats, cordage, and preserved fibers representing every indigenous basket-making group in North America from 6,000 years ago to the present. When completed, the woven wonders will be protected by state-of-the-art technology and will be more easily accessible to you, the interested public, Native American artists, scholars, researchers, and students.
Diverse and distinguished, ASM’s researchers continue to add to the world’s knowledge of this region’s past and present cultures through independent and collaborative studies, both in the field and in the museum.
Two field schools are yielding new information and teaching future generations of archaeologists.
Drs. Paul and Suzanne Fish lead the crew at University Indian Ruin, a Classic period Hohokam platform mound site in the eastern Tucson Basin. Excavations have yielded new information about civic and ritual architecture, building usage, ritualized room closure, and burial practices. Incidentally, the Fishes were awarded a lifetime achievement award for public archaeology by the Governor's Archaeology Advisory Commission this spring.
Dr. Charles Adams and Rich Lange lead the crew at Rock Art Ranch near Joseph City in northern Arizona. Their investigations at ancestral Pueblo sites are indicating the region was a cultural crossroads for several distinct groups migrating into and out of the area from about 6000 BCE to 1230 CE.
A prime example of the importance of continuing research on existing museum collections is a project of Dr. Patrick Lyons, ASM head of collections. Patrick’s fresh look at an 80-year-old collection is yielding exciting new information about migrants from the Four Corners region seven centuries ago.
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Coordination
The following is an excerpt from a report to the national NAGPRA Review Committee given by Annie Pardo, NAGPRA program manager and national curator for the Bureau of Indian Affairs:
Collections Care and Acquisitions
As the nation’s largest and busiest non-federal archaeological repository, objects and information from statewide excavations and surveys come to ASM on a daily basis. We continue to strive to secure permanent and expandable off-site storage for the perpetual care of these irrreplaceable resources for understanding Arizona's past.
Thanks to the tireless fund-raising efforts and financial support of the Friends of the ASM Collections, curator of ethnological collections Diane Dittemore was able to make strategic purchases necessary to augment the objects that tell the stories of indigenous lifeways.
Every year donations from generous, responsible, and preservation-minded community members make up a solid and significant component of the museum’s collections acquisition program.
With an annual average of about 40 public events—an art fair, cultural celebrations, travel tours, workshops, film festivals, lectures, summer camps, school programs, in-house tours, and exhibits—there are too many to detail here. ASM’s staff is committed to engaging all of the institution’s many and varied audiences in meaningful, and often award-winning, ways.
Lisa Falk, ASM director of education, was recognized by the Museum Association of Arizona for her leadership and collaborative efforts on the many facets of Through the Eyes of the Eagle: Illustrating Healthy Living—an in-house exhibit, a travelling exhibit, an original comic book, and a health fair.
The Many Mexicos: Vistas de la Frontera exhibit received the 2012 Award of Merit from the Leadership in History Awards Committee of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), the nation’s most prestigious recognition of achievement in state and local history.
ASM’s signature educational event, the Southwest Indian Art Fair, continues to attract an ever larger crowd of members, residents, winter visitors, and tourists, all of whom, according to exit surveys, particularly enjoy meeting, visiting with, and getting to know the artists as well as purchasing top-quality, handmade, authentic artwork for their homes.
As an official Centennial Legacy Project, the new exhibit, Basketry Treasured, celebrates the ancient and abiding Arizona tradition of Native basketry. Approximately five hundred stunning examples represent the depth and breadth of the museum’s peerless collection. O’odham, Apache, and Hopi voices enrich the exhibit's discussions of materials, technologies, traditions, and the many functions basketry has served and continues to serve in Native communities.
Grateful for Family
In addition to the solid support from museum members and the Friends of the ASM Collections, hundreds and hundreds of docents and volunteers greatly multiply and enhance the museum’s effectiveness, reach, impact, and relevance in the community. We are very grateful.
Keeping in Touch
As part of the museum’s ongoing efforts to stay connected with its many and varied audiences, we continue to provide relevant and timely information through social media outlets. You can effortlessly keep up with ASM on a daily basis through our website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed.
If we can be of service to you, please feel free to contact us.
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