In March 1893, University of Michigan President James B. Angell wrote to the Smithsonian Institution to request collections for the University Museum. At that time, the Smithsonian often distributed objects that it defined as “duplicates” to museum, libraries, and public schools and had donated previous collections to U-M. The 1893 shipment contained 56 ceramic vessels collected by Bureau of American Ethnology employees from Puebloan potters in Arizona and New Mexico. This decorated earthenware bowl was made in Zuni Pueblo in western New Mexico and was collected by anthropologist Matilda Coxe Evans Stevenson. The many numbers on it point to its complex museum history: its UMMAA catalog number is 7318; its Smithsonian number was 112508; and the number 311 likely was assigned by Stevenson during one of her many expeditions to Zuni. Whatever its number, it is a beautiful example of the work of a late 19th-century Zuni potter.
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.