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I went to the first part of the exhibition, the photography, at the Museum of the Native American in New York. Let it never be said that I do not love this museum. However, WTF were they thinking?
Warning: this is lengthy, grumpy, and names the names of photos. (So if you are of a sensitive disposition ... )
Mich. boy finds 1981 Smithsonian error

ALLEGAN, Mich. - Is fifth-grader Kenton Stufflebeam smarter than the Smithsonian?

On a winter break trip with his family to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, the 11-year-old southwestern Michigan boy noticed that a notation, in bold lettering, mistakenly identified the Precambrian as an era.

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14th-Mar-2008 09:27 am - Minoans in Manhatten
double door
If you plan to be in New York, this is a rare chance to see many of these interesting artifacts outside of Crete or Greece.
From the Land of the Labyrinth: Minoan Crete, 3000-1100 B.C.

March 13 – September 13, 2008

The Onassis Cultural Center
645 Fifth Avenue

In collaboration with the
Hellenic Ministry of Culture
Archaeological Museums of Crete

The exhibition "From the Land of the Labyrinth: Minoan Crete, 3000–1100 B.C." presents more than 280 artifacts and works of art from the ancient land of Crete, most of which have never been shown outside Greece. These fascinating objects seen together bring to life the story of Crete’s luminous Minoan culture, the first palatial civilization to establish itself on European soil.

The exhibition brings to light aspects of Minoan daily life during the second and third millennia B.C., including social structure, communications, bureaucratic organization, religion, and technology.

In eleven thematic sections, the exhibition maps chronologically the establishment and great achievements of Minoan culture. Here the viewer can explore the historical and cultural context of this celebrated society and gain insight into its mysteries, such as the legends surrounding the reign of King Minos of Knossos, who commissioned the fabled Labyrinth of Greek mythology.

Information gathered from the study of the Early, Middle, and Late Minoan periods—also known as the Prepalatial, Protopalatial, Neopalatial, and Postpalatial periods—is largely based on objects excavated from the island’s burial grounds and settlements. The exhibition pieces together the culture’s past by focusing on such objects as gold jewelry deposited in the rich tombs of the elite, inscribed clay tablets that reveal the basic elements of the Minoan economy, ceremonial vessels found in both palaces and tombs, and votive figures of clay, symbolic offerings to protective deities. All of these intriguing objects are on loan from the archaeological museums in Crete, in collaboration with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture.

Archaeology magazine has an online review.


By Anna Driver

Lucy, the world's most famous human ancestor, will go on public display for the first time in the United States this week amid criticism that her 3.2 million year old bones are too fragile to withstand an 11-city tour.

Lucy's remains were unveiled to reporters during a news conference on Tuesday at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Under an undisclosed financial deal with Ethiopia, Houston is the first stop on what is expected to be a six-year tour.

The public will be able to view Lucy beginning on Friday.

The exhibition, aimed at drumming up tourism in Ethiopia, has drawn criticism from scientists who say Lucy's bones may suffer damage.

"I definitely think that Lucy should not have been sent to America. ... Unique biological specimens and fossils such as Lucy are for science and should be retained in their country of origin," renowned paleontologist Richard Leakey told Reuters by telephone.

"Nobody will benefit from Lucy's tour apart from American museums, which are exploiting Africa's resources," he said.

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11th-Dec-2006 08:43 am - Ojibwe scrolls come full circle
The sacred scrolls took a 275-year journey from a medicine lodge to a doctor then to his grandson in Kentucky -- who came to realize he was their guardian, not their owner.
Larry Oakes, Star Tribune

TOWER, MINN. - For those who believe in spiritual forces, the story of the sacred scrolls of the Bois Forte Chippewa offers a wonderful affirmation. For those who believe we walk alone, the story offers an amazing coincidence. In September, members of the northern Minnesota tribe gathered at Spirit Island on Nett Lake for a ceremony. There, according to witnesses, a drumkeeper named Shane Drift recounted his recent dream that forgotten stories and songs of the tribe would somehow "come back to us."

About two weeks later, in early October, the phone rang at the new Bois Forte Heritage Center and Cultural Museum, next to Fortune Bay Casino.

The caller was Raymond Cloutier, a physician in Bowling Green, Ky. Cloutier said that hanging in glass cases on the walls of his study were 42 birch bark scrolls inscribed with symbols and pictures.

Cloutier said the scrolls had come with a letter saying that some of the scrolls were more than 200 years old, and all originated "at Nett Lake on the Bois Forte Reservation."

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Kendrick Frazier
Skeptical Inquirer

Famed paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey is giving no quarter to powerful evangelical church leaders who are pressing Kenya's national museum to relegate to a back room its world-famous collection of hominid fossils showing the evolution of humans' early ancestors.

Leakey called the churches' plans "the most outrageous comments I have ever heard."

He told The Daily Telegraph (London): "The National Museums of Kenya should be extremely strong in presenting a very forceful case for the evolutionary theory of the origins of mankind. The collection it holds is one of Kenya's very few global claims to fame and it must be forthright in defending its right to be at the forefront of this branch of science." Leakey was for years director of the museum and of Kenya's entire museum system.

The museum's collections include the most complete skeleton yet found of Homo erectus, the 1.7-million-year-old Turkana Boy unearthed by Leakey's team in 1984 near Lake Turkana in northern Kenya.

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30th-Nov-2006 07:29 am - Employment Opp
Mim  Rab
State position with benefits. Please spread the word. It closes on Monday!
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Ethiopia agreed on Tuesday to exhibit its world-acclaimed archaeological find -- the 3.2 million-year-old remains of a female hominid known as Lucy -- and 190 other heritage items in America, officials said.

An exhibition is scheduled for September 2007 at the Houston Museum of National Science and then will move to 10 other U.S. museums. Lucy is expected to return to Ethiopia in 2013.

Ethiopian Minister of Culture and Tourism Ahmed Drir and Joel Bartsch President of the Houston Museum of National Science signed the agreement.

"Ethiopia's rich cultural heritage, and the vibrant country that it is today, is one of the best kept secrets in the world and it is a story that needs to be told much more broadly," Bartsch said.

A statement said other items including humankind's earliest stone tools would also be exhibited.

The remains of Lucy were discovered in 1974 by U.S. scientist Donald Johanson and described by scientists as one of the world's greatest archaeological finds.

The discovery of the almost complete hominid skeleton was a landmark in the search for the origins of humanity.

The statement said the exhibit would help renew interest in Ethiopia's tourist attractions and increase the number of U.S. tourists coming to the Horn of Africa country.

Original article with photo
16th-Oct-2006 05:15 pm - Homo britannicus
I thought you guys would enjoy this. I found this article on BBC News today about a new book by Chris Stringer, head of Human Origins at the Natural History Museum in London. It's basically all about British anthropology, and from the sample, looks to be full of fun facts about Piltdown Man (seems to be Stringer's forté), and a few more reputable samples. Do enjoy!

Here be a link to the article and sample: The Article

And a link to the Amazon UK page: The Book

If anyone could find a link for stupid Americans like myself who don't want to pay up the nose for shipping, please comment and I'll add it to this post! Pip pip, cheerio, and ods bodkins to you all!
By Randy Salzman

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. - It took trips to opposite corners of the globe to settle my opinion as to whether museums' collections represented the "preservation" or "theft" of other cultures' artifacts.

In Australia, the Melbourne Museum broadcasts this debate through a video featuring actors playing two 19th-century historical figures - a museum curator and an Aboriginal chieftain. Baldwin Spencer, who collected 5,000 objects from indigenous Aboriginals, argued that anthropology preserved history. Irrapwe, an Arrernte leader known as "King Charley," argued it was theft of culture.

Since Aboriginal law differentiates between men's and women's knowledge and prohibits entire races from even seeing their cultural icons, I left Australia secure that native cultures should reserve the absolute right to control their artifacts.

But after having recently spent months in Oxford and London museums, I'm changing my mind.

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3rd-Feb-2006 04:26 pm - Inca Show Pits Yale Against Peru
Original Article (with pictures):

NEW HAVEN, Jan. 26 — By any conventional measure, Yale's exhibition about Machu Picchu would seem a windfall for Peru. As one of the most ambitious shows about the Inca ever presented in the United States, drawing over a million visitors while traveling to half a dozen cities and back again, it has riveted eyes on Peru's leading tourist attraction.

Yet instead of cementing an international partnership, the exhibition, which returned to the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale in September, has brought a low ebb in the university's relations with Peru. At issue are a large group of artifacts that form the core of the show, excavated at Machu Picchu in a historic dig by a Yale explorer in 1912. The government of Peru wants all of those objects back.

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24th-Nov-2005 08:40 pm - This is SO wrong.
It's not enough for fundamentalists to scare off companies from helping teach human evolution in the rest of the country, they have to do it in New York City???

The Darwin exhibition frightening off corporate sponsors
By Nicholas Wapshott in New York
(Filed: 20/11/2005)

An exhibition celebrating the life of Charles Darwin has failed to find a corporate sponsor because American companies are anxious not to take sides in the heated debate between scientists and fundamentalist Christians over the theory of evolution.

Read more from the Telegraph above...

Yay for my first post?
16th-Oct-2005 02:38 pm - Museums take up evolution challenge
By Lisa Anderson Tribune national correspondent

Natural history museums around the country are mounting new exhibits they hope will succeed where high school biology classes have faltered: convincing Americans that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is a rigorously tested cornerstone of modern science.

At Chicago's Field Museum, curators call their upcoming effort "Evolving Planet." The University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln calls its program "Explore Evolution." And here at the American Museum of Natural History, the exhibit that opens next month is called simply "Darwin."

Numerous battles in school districts around the country and a landmark federal case unfolding in Pennsylvania, however, make one point clear: When Darwin's widely accepted scientific explanation of human development collides with widely held religious belief about mankind's divine origins, nothing is simple.

Even the word "evolution" is charged. Some religions, including Catholicism, consider evolution essentially compatible with religious belief. But many people consider it hostile to faith because it posits that all life on Earth--including humans--shares common ancestry and developed through the mechanisms of random mutation and natural selection over some 4 billion years.

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