Two new exhibitions of UMMAA collections are on display at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History (UMMNH). They can be found in the atrium, behind the mastodons. Both exhibits will be on display until the summer of 2022.
Knowledge Sharing: Students Learning from an Ethnobotanist and Anishinaabe Artists
This exhibition is a collaboration between UMMAA, UMMNH, and Dr. Lisa C. Young's Winter 2020 Museum Anthropology (Antharch 497) students, who researched the objects collected by former UMMAA curator Volney Jones from Ketegaunseebee/Garden River First Nation. Dr. Young is a faculty member in the University of Michigan Department of Anthropology and a Museum affiliate in the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology.
During the semester, the class met with Josh and Sarah Homminga, award-winning basketmakers and teachers, who helped them learn about the importance of Anishinaabe living traditions. Students worked together in teams to select objects for the exhibit, write labels for these objects, and develop content for a text panel. The goal of the exhibit was for students to share their research on the history of the objects that Volney Jones collected and what they had learned from present-day Anishinaabe community members.
Through a LSA Technology Services Digital Project Partnership, Dr. Young developed a companion website: Anishinaabe Plants: Learning from Museum Collections at the University of Michigan. This website allows visitors to the physical exhibit to digitally access additional information about the UMMAA collection with QR codes. Read more about the development of this project here.
Wiidanokiindiwag (They Work with Each Other)
This exhibition is a reimplementation of an exhibition that was previously on display at the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways in 2019. It was co-curated by William Johnson, curator and interim director of the Ziibiwing Center, and Carla Sinopoli, emeritus UMMAA curator and director of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico.
The exhibition’s title, Wiidanokiindiwag (They Work With Each Other), has two meanings: the first refers to the Anishinaabek basketmakers, who worked with each other and with native materials, including black ash, sweetgrass, elm and birch bark, and porcupine quills. The second meaning refers to the collaboration of the people of the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways and the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, who worked together to bring about this exhibition. The collaboration between the groups began many years ago, with efforts to implement the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Since then, hundreds of Anishinaabek ancestors and their burial belongings have been returned to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan and many other Great Lakes tribes.
Complementing this exhibition is an online catalog produced by the students of Dr. Young’s Winter 2019 Museum Anthropology course (Antharch 497), titled Bkejwanong/Walpole Island, Ontario Collections at the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. Dr. Young contributed to both Wiidanokiindiwag exhibits.