This year, the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology has been honored to join our larger University of Michigan community in celebrating the bicentennial of the University’s founding., Anthropology has not been around quite so long, but nearly. The first documented cultural object (an Anishinaabe birch bark canoe) came to the University in 1840. Archaeological objects from Michigan, South America, and Asia soon followed. The history of U-M archaeology and the two U-M archaeological museums is celebrated in the bicentennial exhibition Excavating Archaeology @ U-M: 1817–2017 at the Kelsey Museum from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018. Exhibition co-curator and UMMAA Asian curator Carla Sinopoli conceived of the “200 Objects in 200 Days” web project as a way to lead up to the physical exhibition as well as an opportunity to feature part of the Museum’s collection, which, at more than three million artifacts, cannot fit in a single gallery.
In developing this web project, we sought to represent the breadth of the Museum’s collections and also feature objects with interesting stories. We included objects from all of the Museum’s divisions, but we did not feature them proportionately to their representation in the collections overall. Ethnographic, Asian, and Latin American collections were overrepresented and Great Lakes and North American archaeological collections were underrepresented. There were a number of reasons for this. Not least is that over the course of this project the Museum has been moving the collections to a new facility. Many of our collections were packed in boxes, aboard trucks, or otherwise inaccessible. We also privileged objects that had already been photographed, were reasonably photogenic, and had interesting stories that could be told in 150 words or less. If you have enjoyed looking at these objects, rest assured: there are three million more stories to be told from the Museum’s collections.
Today, I take the opportunity to thank everyone who assisted in what proved to be a much larger task than I ever imagined. First and foremost is Elizabeth Noll, UMMAA’s talented editor, who prepared, edited, and posted every entry—often at the last minute, as I was struggling to keep ahead of the relentless calendar.
Many other individuals also contributed to the project—drafting or editing entries, reviewing and correcting content, and providing insights into objects, their makers, and collection history. I gratefully acknowledge their contributions (in alphabetical order):
- Mark Altaha, THPO and NAGPRA Officer, White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Ft. Apache Reservation
- Wes Andrews, THPO and NAGPRA Officer, The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
- Everett Bandy, THPO, Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma
- Robin Beck, Curator of North American Archaeology, UMMAA
- Deanna Byrd, NAGPRA Liaison, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
- Kevin Carr, Associate Professor, History of Art, U-M
- Paula Carrick, THPO and NAGPRA Officer, Bay Mills Indian Community
- Sherri Clemons, THPO and NAGPRA Officer, Wyandotte Nation
- Jordan Dalton, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Anthropology/UMMAA
- Wally Davis, Cultural/NAGPRA Officer, Tonto Apache Tribe of Arizona
- Merlin Deegan, Cultural/NAGPRA Officer, White Earth Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
- Gary Feinman, MacArthur Curator of Mesoamerican, Central American and East Asian Anthropology, Field Museum of Natural History
- Richard Ford, Curator Emeritus, UMMAA
- Lauren Fuka, Collection Manager, UMMAA
- Dan Hansen, Undergraduate Student Assistant, UMMAA
- Frances Hayashida, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of New Mexico
- Kelley Hayes-Gilpin, Professor of Anthropology, University of Northern Arizona
- John W. Hoopes, Professor of Anthropology, University of Kansas
- William Johnson, Curator, THPO, and NAGPRA Officer, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan
- Susan Klapel, Executive Director of Natural Resources, Mille Lacs Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
- Rachel Lee, Postdoctoral Fellow, Korea Center, University of Washington
- Edith Leoso, THPO and NAGPRA Officer, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe
- Wanda McFaggen, Director/THPO and NAGPRA Officer, St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin
- Colleen Medicine, THPO and NAGPRA Officer, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
- Li Min, Associate Professor of Anthropology, UCLA
- Leah Minc, Professor of Anthropology, Oregon State University
- Patrick Monaghan, Undergraduate Student Assistant, UMMAA
- Jennifer Robertson, Professor, History of Art and Anthropology, U-M
- J. Amadeaus Scott, NAGPRA Collection Manager, UMMAA
- John O’Shea, Curator of Great Lakes Archaeology, UMMAA
- Jeffrey Parsons, Curator Emeritus, UMMAA
- Veronica Pasfield, Cultural/NAGPRA Officer, Bay Mills Indian Community
- Kyra Pazan, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Anthropology/UMMAA
- Jonnie "Jay" Sam, II, THPO and NAGPRA Officer, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
- Ben Secunda, NAGPRA Project Manager, UM Office of Research
- Raymond Silverman, History of Art and Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, U-M
- John D. Speth, Curator Emeritus, UMMAA
- Brian Stewart, Curator of African Archaeology, UMMAA
- Ian Thompson, Tribal Archaeologist, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
- Parker VanValkenburgh, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Brown University
- Kerri Wilhelm, former Collection Manager, UMMAA
- Henry T. Wright, Curator of West Asian Archaeology, UMMAA
- Lisa C. Young, Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, U-M
- Yuchao Zhao, Doctoral student, Department of Anthropology/UMMAA, U-M
I also thank the many museums that have excellent information on their collections posted on their web sites. This allowed me to track down additional information on some of our own artifacts. These museums include, but are not limited to: the National Museum of the American Indian, the American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, the Freer Sackler Museums of Asian Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
And last, but certainly not least, I acknowledge the many curators, affiliated researchers, source communities, and donors whose scholarship and collections have so enriched educational opportunities and archaeological research at the University of Michigan.
Curator of Asian Archaeology and Ethnology
Back to Day 200.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.