In 1932, Museum ethnobotanist Volney Jones collected the corn on the left from a Hopi farmer, Don Talayesva, who lived in the village of Oraibi in northeastern Arizona. Mr. Talayesva was the translator for U-M Anthropology professor Leslie White, who was teaching a field training program that year. The cobs on the right are the “daughters” of the 1932 corn. They were grown in 1935 at the U-M Botanical Gardens, then on Iroquois Street about one and a half miles south of central campus. In this experimental garden, Jones planted 56 varieties of corn from cobs that were part of the Museum’s collections. The cobs came from Native American farmers in the Southwest, Plains, and Great Lakes regions. Today researchers continue to study this collection. Museum researcher Lisa Young works with U-M students and Hopi farmers to share information on this important historic collection of Native crops.
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.