The University of Arizona

Hartman H. Lomawaima
Arizona State Museum Director 2004–2008

Hartman H. Lomawaima, Director

Hartman H. Lomawaima

Hartman H. Lomawaima, director of Arizona State Museum (ASM), passed on Tuesday, July 8, 2008, after an 11-month battle with colon cancer which he fought with great determination. He was 58.

Born Nov 11, 1949, Hartman was Hongwungwa / Bear Clan, Hopi from the village of Sipaulovi, Second Mesa, Arizona.

Among Hartman’s many professional accomplishments, he is noted for being the first American Indian director of a major museum in the Southwest and the first American Indian director of any state agency in Arizona.

His interest in museums stemmed from his graduate studies at Harvard where he took the opportunity to become familiar with the vast archival and collections resources of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Some years later he was appointed to the Board of Overseers’ Committee, which guides the Peabody in areas of program development and policy. Upon completion of his degree program, he accepted an administrative appointment in the Graduate Division at Stanford. While at Stanford, he also continued post-graduate studies in education and anthropology. From 1980 to 1988, he served as a senior administrative officer of the Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California at Berkeley. In 1988 Hartman relocated with his wife, Tsianina, to the University of Washington in Seattle. In 1994, they moved to Tucson and she accepted an appointment at the University of Arizona as a Professor of American Indian Studies.

That same year, Hartman came to Arizona State Museum as associate director and served concurrently as a professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona. Hartman became director of ASM in 2004. Under his leadership, ASM accomplished several initiatives. The Pottery Project began in 2000 with a grant from the Save America’s Treasures Initiative and funding, design and construction were completed in 2006. At Hartman’s direction, ASM and UA collaborated to re-design and rebuild the front entrance of ASM’s historic building on the UA campus so that it is universally accessible. The high point of this project was the installation of the first sculpture to become part of ASM’s collections, Watercarrier, by Arizona Apache artist Craig Dan Goseyun. Hartman and ASM friends Arnold and Doris Roland jointly selected the piece, which the Rolands funded.

As part of his commitment to serve as large a community as possible, Hartman had for years been championing and guiding Arizona State Museum’s participation at Rio Nuevo (Downtown Redevelopment Project). In 2006, ASM was awarded official project status with the City of Tucson and is slated to expand with a new exhibit and public program facility in 2011.

Very active in state, regional, and national museum associations, Hartman had an impressive list of affiliations. He served as principal consultant to a number of museums including the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, and Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

He was the 1998 recipient of the Museum Association of Arizona’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Museum and Historical Fields. He was chair of the Nature, Culture & Heritage Alliance of Pima County and has served as board member of the American Association for State and Local History. Currently he is a member of the board of directors of the American Association of Museums, the Board of Trustees of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), and was a member of a national steering committee to develop an American Indian Museums Association.

As an anthropologist, Hartman’s research interests were in the American Indian experience:

  • American Indian and First Nation museum/heritage center development
  • American Indian contributions to U.S. transportation (railroad) history
  • Applications of early Spanish Colonial documents in developing a documentary history of Hopi-Spanish relations

His most recent scholarly publications include contributions to “Encyclopedia of North American Indians” and “Encyclopedia of American History”; contributions to The State of Native America (working title; Harvard University Press) and Portraits of a People (a manuscript on the imagery of Edward S. Curtis). Hartman also served as principal consultant and humanities scholar for the documentary film Coming to Light: Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian (a film by Anne Makepeace).

Hartman Lomawaima is survived by his wife, Tsianina Lomawaima. Plans for a public memorial service will be announced soon.

More About Hartman

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Photo by Ken Matesich

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