Truly the epitome of a larger-than-life frontiersman and Victorian amateur scientist, Herbert H. Brown was the first curator of the Arizona State Museum (1893-1912) and a jack-of-all-trades. … » Read more »
This week 65 students from Emily Gray Middle School were busy exploring the exhibitions at Arizona State Museum. They were engaged with the exhibit content and discussing it with their friends. Often when schools come on self-guided visits to the museum the students run around wildly, seemingly without purpose. The students, and their chaperones, often text on their phones and chat about random things. Rarely do they really look hard and deep at the exhibit content and make personal connections.
What made the students from Emily Gray different? They were also using their phones and talking with their friends! But they were … » Read more »
There are lots of ways for people to get involved at the ASM whether you’re 5 or 95! Visiting the museum or attending a program are one way; volunteering at these is another. Volunteer opportunities abound – including helping at a special event or family day, participating in the docent program, or working behind the scenes.
ASM is the perfect place for Girl or Boy Scouts to learn about the rich history and traditions of indigenous peoples and other cultures of the Southwest. Tucson Girl Scout Troop #4 earned a community service badge by … » Read more »
The neighborhoods surrounding the University of Arizona hold a bounty of local treasures, from the Postal History Museum to an Ace Hardware with unrivaled vintage ambience. Also on this list of UA area unique institutions is Ha:san Prepartory and Leadership School “a bicultural public high school for Tohono O’odham youth and Native students interested in a college prep curriculum.” Ha:san, its name comes from the O’odham word for saguaro cactus, occupies a former church at the corner of 10th and Santa Rita, just south of campus.
Lois Liston has taught basketry at Ha:san for over 12 years. … » Read more »
Not even 48 hours after the posting of my last blog I received two emails offering information about “mysterious Mr. Walsin.” I discovered that far from being unknown, unidentified, or illegible, the signature on the flyleaf of our little book is the authentic autograph of Frederick Roelker Wulsin (1891-1961).
Clearly, I had far too quickly jumped to the conclusion that we might never know who had owned the book before it came into the hands of ASM curator Robert G. Baker. This is a reminder that the rush to judgment will be countered quickly in this age of digital interaction; it is an exciting time for a researcher to be able to push their investigation further because of receiving linked information so quickly. … » Read more »
We were putting together the presentation for a History 301 class due to visit the ASM Library in a few days. The instructor, Dr. Michael Brescia, wanted us to show his students a wide variety of resources and we wanted to display some of the best of the best; not just any old reference book or any old handwritten manuscript. We wanted to pull out really special, rare, beautiful, and evocative items.
Librarian Mary Graham knows the collection well from her over twenty years of service at ASM. Heading to the locked stacks, she loaded a cart with books she knew the students would pronounce “awesome!” She selected exceedingly rare examples of Southwest bibliography and milestones in book illustration. In addition, she used one of the most important of all research skills – the ability to browse and make discoveries. Pulling down a nondescript, worn little leather-bound volume, Mary opened it to discover that inside the cover were handwritten notes about how to measure small mammals for a museum collection. The book itself was a compilation of “how-to” writings by noted natural scientists from the 1890s to 1910.
My archival curiosity was immediately fired up. Whose handwriting was inside the cover of this strange volume? … » Read more »
The Tohono O’odham today weave more basketry than any other American Indian tribe. It is estimated that there are 300-400 active weavers today. This number is still a far cry from generations past when essentially all women wove baskets for their families and communities, for tasks that included desert plant gathering to holding ceremonial saguaro wine. Young girls learned basketry arts along with other important life skills through informal instruction from their mothers and other female relatives.
Today, baskets continue to serve as sources of artistic and cultural pride, but do not play the same central role in Tohono O’odham society as they did in the past. … » Read more »
For thousands of years the native people of the Americas have been making fine objects of great beauty. Historically most of these items were not viewed as art by their makers, but rather as utilitarian wares or ceremonial objects. The care in producing and the artistry in decorating these objects are undeniable, and it is no wonder that for centuries outsiders have valued and collected these items. … » Read more »
Arizona State Museum’s 20th annual Southwest Indian Art Fair brings accomplished and well known Native artists from all over the Southwest, but one family in particular stands out for their knack in making waves in the art world internationally. … » Read more »
Native American music and dance is as diverse as the many tribes themselves. Most traditional Native songs and dances can be linked to ceremonies or social gatherings. Today Native musicians and dancers continue their traditional forms, and also draw from these for inspiration as they create new forms of music and dance that combine elements from Western music, other tribes’ traditions and their own imagination. The Arizona State Museum’s 20th Annual Southwest Indian Art Fair is proud to present performances reflecting this diversity, a plethora of talent and creativity with strong ties to cultural traditions. … » Read more »
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