Fall 2019 Newsletter

From the Desk of the IUMAA Director

Click here to read a message from the Executive Director of the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Ed Herrman.

From the Desk of the Director

Click here to read a message from the GBL Director, April Sievert.

From the Desk of the Curator

Click here to read a message from GBL Curator, Melody Pope.

Group of people around artifacts on table in type collection room.
Plains Anthropological Conference tours at GBL (October 2019)

This Semester at the GBL!

Plains Anthropological Conference

The 77th Plains Anthropological Conference was held in Bloomington, Indiana on October 16-19, 2019. The Conference was organized by Dr. Laura L. Scheiber and Amanda Burtt of the Indiana University Anthropology Department. This was the first year the conference was held in Bloomington!

The Plains Anthropological Society promotes the study of North American
Great Plains cultures, and encourages the exchange of ideas and information at its annual Plains Anthropological Conference. The society encouraged papers, posters, and organized sessions on topics related to Anthropology and Ethnohistory on the Great Plains and adjacent regions.

Amanda stands next to her poster "Ripe for Research"
Amanda Burtt at the Plains Anthropological Conference poster session (October 2019)

Poster Session

Amanda Burtt organized a poster session with members of the Saving America’s Treasures Angel Mounds Rehousing Project for the Plains Anthropological Conference. The poster session was titled: Rediscovering Angel Mounds.

Abstract:

Research presented in this poster session highlight the ongoing efforts of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology in rehousing collections from Angel Mounds. Excavations at the Angel Mounds site (12Vg1) conducted during the WPA era recovered more than two million artifacts. With a Federal Save America’s Treasures grant, these collections are being removed from their original paper bags and boxes and upgraded with archival grade bags, tags, and boxes. A team of graduate and undergraduate students have been instrumental in this process, learning about curation practices while rediscovering the material remains of Angel Mounds residents. Posters represent various aspects of curating this legacy collection and the interests of those that have been on the front lines of this exciting project including research on curation practices and community involvement in archaeology, as well as archaeological investigation into food-ways, tool use, and fauna remains from Angel Mounds.

Molly stands next to her poster "Keeping Up with the collections: Issues with Documentation of Artifacts from Angel Mounds"
Molly Mesner Bleyhl at the PAC poster session (October 2019)

New Collections to the Library & Archives

This summer and fall, the archives have received several marvelous donations! Cheryl Munson brought boxes of records related to her work on GE Mounds; Kevin Crouch donated a few boxes of books and reports to be added to our collections; and Jonathan Reyman, former curator of the Illinois State Museum and member of the GBL Advisory Board, donated the papers of the Feather Distribution Project.

Image from back of lecture hall towards Jonathan Reyman pointing at screen.
Dr. Jonathan Reyman’s lecture on the Feather Distribution Project (September 2019)

The Feather Distribution Project, organized and coordinated by Dr. Reyman, collected over 14 million naturally molted feathers over a 34 year period from around the country to donate for use in the Pueblo nations. This archive of documents will be organized and a finding aid created in the near future!

In the digital-realm, Patrick Sovereign has been digitizing the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology Reports of Investigations abstracts and submitting them to Indiana University’s ScholarWorks database. To date he’s uploaded 117 of the more recent report abstracts.

Exhibits

Trowel & Brush Society

In August, a lobby exhibit called Trowel & Brush opened to highlight images and archival materials of past field schools run by Glenn Black. The name comes from The Trowel and Brush Society, which began in 1948 when Glenn Black thought to start an organization made up of those students who had worked at Angel Mounds under his tutelage. This exhibit showcases many images from past field schools at Angel Mounds and remembers the students who were part of this institution’s story.

Animal-Spirit-Human

We said goodbye to our latest Headdy Gallery exhibit this semester. Items were rehoused in November in preparation for the upcoming spring collections move.

You Are There 1939: Exploring Angel Mounds

You can still visit the Indiana Historical Society exhibit and interaction about Angel Mounds at the History Center in Indianapolis! Guests are transported back to the Depression era as workers with the Works Projects Administration study Angel Mounds, the once-thriving Mississipian town located in southern Indiana. Learn how archaeologists and workers survey the land, excavated artifacts, and process their findings.

Campus Archaeology Symposium

Organized by Elizabeth Watts Malouchos

On September 6th, 2019, archaeologists from IU campuses across the state and the wider Midwest convened at the Wylie House Museum (WHM) for IU’s first Campus Archaeology Symposium. The Campus Archaeology Symposium was inspired by the recent collaboration between the GBL and WHM to explore early campus landscapes and document and preserve campus cultural heritage at the 1835 home of IU’s first president Andrew Wylie. Funded through IU’s Office of the Bicentennial, the Campus Archaeology Symposium was organized to explore the buried archaeological record of the historic campus and to discuss how to balance university growth with preservation of campus cultural resources.

The symposium has held in the WHM’s Morton C. Bradley Jr. Educational Center, a restored 19th century barn, the perfect setting steeped in local history and charm to host our speakers and guests. The symposium started out with a delicious bagel breakfast spread and a welcome from GBL Research Scientist Liz Watts Malouchos. Next, the WHM Director Carey Champion and WHM Outdoor Interpreter Sherry Wise introduced the history of the Wylie House and a missed opportunity for archaeology (the foundation of the original Wylie carriage house was disturbed during a construction project) that inspired the partnership between WHM and the GBL. Then, GBL Director, April Sievert introduced our recent collaborative research project that culminated in a 2018 field school investigating two subterranean greenhouses at Wylie House that were used to overwinter flowers starting in the 1860’s. IUB Anthropology graduate student Molly Mesner Bleyhl presented next and spoke about the unique experiences of learning to do archaeology in a local and familiar landscape. Liz Watts Malouchos followed and provided a summary of the many recent campus archaeology projects at Wylie House and other locations on campus like the Griffy Research and Teaching Preserve and Campus Farm and Hinkle-Garton Farmstead. IU Historian James Capshew presented on the history of place-making at IU and how early students participated in sculpting the IUB natural and cultural landscapes that we know today. To round out the morning, John Summerlot Coordinator for Military and Veteran Services and IU history buff and Spencer Bowman IU undergraduate student and Bicentennial intern discussed their research on IU’s illusive centennial timecapsule buried at the original Seminary Square Campus. Undergraduate students and GBL/WHM interns Lauren Schumacher and Maclaren Guthrie also presented posters on their original research on campus archaeology and material culture at Wylie House.

After a delightful lunch was enjoyed on the lawn next to the WHM garden, the symposium moved to archaeological projects and programs farther afield from our Bloomington campus. Jay VanderVeen from IU South Bend presented on his recent campus excavations and research linking participation in archaeological field schools to increased civic engagement. Paul Mullins from IUPUI followed and shared his research on the displacement of black communities to make way for the downtown Indianapolis campus. Then, Mark Schurr from Notre Dame University described how he combines traditional collegiate field schools with high school field schools to explore UND’s Old College. GBL Curator Melody Pope spoke about campus archaeology projects during her tenure at the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist on the University of Iowa’s campus. Finally, we had the great pleasure of hosting two keynote speakers: Lynne Goldstein, founder of the Michigan State University (MSU) Campus Archaeology Program (CAP) and Stacey Camp, CAP’s current director. MSU’s Campus Archaeology Program is the premier campus cultural resource program and serves as a model for sustainable, successful campus archaeology that we at IUB strive to replicate. Dr. Camp spoke about current CAP initiatives and the benefits of student learning and professionalization through exploring campus archaeology and history. Dr. Goldstein relayed the journey of her work in educating MSU’s administration in the importance of campus cultural heritage and leveraging the foundation of CAP. We here at the GBL were inspired by the interesting research and results of recent IU campus archaeology projects and how our colleagues across the state and at other academic institutions have built and sustained successful campus archaeology programs, preserving university past into the future.

Outreach

D&D and Archaeology

Kelsey Grimm, GBL librarian, hosted a successful event at the Monroe County Public Library in September discussing the connections between Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) and archaeology. Archaeogaming is an emerging field of study dedicated to the archaeology both of and within games. Open world games, like Dungeons & Dragons, have culture, civilizations, and a history. Players that have an understanding of basic archaeology concepts can find their gaming experience enriched.

First Thursday

Collaborating with the Wylie House Museum, the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology showed off some of the artifacts found during 2018 summer excavations at the Wylie House!

Volunteer and Student Appreciation!

Thank you to all who gave their time this semester!

Collections: Jorge Luis Rios Allier, Ariel Creal, Preet Gill, Maclaren A. Guthrie, Anne Hittson, Victoria Kvitek, Amanda Pavot, Ryan PEterson, Brenna Roller, Noah Sandweiss, Lauren Schumacher, Matthew Staats, Cally Steussy, Cameron Ricci Strause

Library: Patrick Sovereign

Programming: Josie Myers

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Spring 2019 Newsletter

From the desk of the Director

Click here to read a message from Director April Sievert.

From the desk of the curator

Click here to read a message from Curator Melody Pope.


conferences

Anne Lacey, Kelsey Grimm, and Bob Wicks at MAC

Kelsey Grimm, librarian for the GBL, hosted a session in April at the 2019 Midwest Archives Conference in Detroit, Michigan. She, Bob Wicks of Miami University, and Anne Lacey of Kansas City, Kansas Public Library, presented “Collaborate and Listen,” in which they described the Wyandotte Heritage Digital Archive. This project, organized by Bob Wicks and hosted by the Wyandotte Nation, will bring together digitized primary source documents from repositories across the continent.

Ph.D. student Molly Mesner presented at the Midwest Archives Conference, alongside Wylie House Museum Director Carey Beam, concerning last summer’s campus archaeology project.

Curator Melody Pope presented research at this year’s Society for American Archaeology conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Head over to her ‘From the Desk of the Curator‘ to read more.


Collections news

Cataloging Collections

Malachai Darling has been continuing the book cataloging and completed the Jonathan Reyman collection, a set of books donated by the former curator of anthropology at the Illinois State Museum. Those can be found on our LibraryThing catalog.

Cleaning the Lilly Map

The Lilly Map

Sheree Sievert, a volunteer, has been cleaning the Eli Lilly map. It should be completed very soon, and will be on display in the Mather’s Museums’s fall exhibit, “800 Seasons.”

Wylie House Excavation

Follow our work at the Wylie House on our blog!

Save America’s Treasures Grant

In September 2018, the GBL was awarded a Save America’s Treasures grant to rehabilitate and rehouse about 2.8 million artifacts from Angel Mounds over the next 3 years. These grants are administered by the National Park Service in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The “Curating Angel” project will allow us to provide safe, long-term preservation of the artifacts and associated documentation from archaeological work at Angel Mounds and make these collections more accessible for research and education.

Amanda Pavot in the Angel Room

As the project gets underway, collections assistant Amanda Pavot is posting weekly updates on our blog. Click here to follow along!

More about IMLS: The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. Follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter!


Outreach news

Stephanie Holman, children’s librarian at the Monroe County Public Library, wrote and performed a story of Angel Mounds with support from the Indiana Historical Society and Storytelling Arts of Indiana. She debuted “Baskets of Dirt: the building, excavation, and interpretation of Angel Mounds” in early March at the History Center in Indianapolis. Look for more performances around the state in the coming year!

Part of the GBL’s “Postcards from the Past” activity

Lotus Blossoms was another absolutely treat this year! The GBL hosted a table with the activity “Postcards from the Past,” where students could identify artifacts found in the state of Indiana and try writing a postcard on the back. Thanks to everyone who came out to see us at Fairfield Elementary!

Hannah Ballard and Amanda Pavot at the Powwow

The GBL had a table at Indiana University’s 8th Annual Traditional Powwow on April 6th.


Exhibit News

Out With the Old: Hats of Archaeology”

Produced in conjunction with the Mathers Museum of World Cultures 2018 exhibit “Heads and Tales,” our exhibit “Hats of Archaeology” takes a look at the various head fashions used in Indiana archaeology throughout the last century. The hats may not have been chosen explicitly to make a statement, but by looking at these photographs from our collection, we can get a sense of how people thought about clothing throughout the last century. 

The exhibit closed in Spring 2019.

IHS Partnership: You Are There 1939

Throughout the past spring and fall, researchers from the Indiana Historical Society have been extensively using the archives for their exhibit You Are There 1939: Exploring Angel Mounds. Danny Gonzales and Dan Shockley visited the facility and were in constant communication with the GBL staff while preparing the exhibit. Uniquely, the “You Are There…” exhibits contain a section allowing visitors to simulate stepping back into the past by talking and interacting with actors; in this case you can talk to Glenn and Ida Black, William Rude, and other WPA workers at Angel Mounds. GBL staff members April Sievert, Melody Pope, and Kelsey Grimm spent a day teaching the “YAT” actors about Angel Mounds and the people of the WPA project. “You Are There 1939” discusses the history of the Angel Mounds Site from Mississippian occupation to today. The exhibit will be on display until August 2020 in Indianapolis at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center.

The new “Images from the WPA-era: Angel Mounds in 1939” exhibit in the GBL lobby

In With the New: “Images from the WPA-era: Angel Mounds in 1939”

In partnership with the Indiana Historical Society, the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology provided images, artifacts, and other primary sources to the development of the IHS exhibit You Are There 1939. An image exhibit was developed in the lobby of the GBL to showcase more of the historic images from 1939 Angel Mounds. The photos highlight some of the earliest, formalized archaeology conducted in the state of Indiana.

The exhibit opened in March 2019.


volunteer and student appreciation

           Collections: Hannah Ballard, Preet Gill, and Amanda Pavot

           Library: Malachai Darling, Sheree Sievert, and Ethan Shepherd

           Programming: Hannah Rea

Thank you to all who gave their time this semester!


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Fall 2018 Newsletter

From the desk of the curator

Click here to read a message from Curator Melody Pope.


conferences

Midwest Archaeology Conference (MAC)

This year’s MAC was held at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. Several GBL staff presented research on the Bicentennial dig at the Wylie House, including Liz Watts Malouchos and Maclaren Guthrie.

Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums  (ATALM)

Director April Sievert and Librarian Kelsey Grimm, IU NAGPRA Director Jayne-Leigh Thomas, and program manager and former NAGPRA research fellow Teresa Nichols  went to the 2018 International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums in Prior Lake, Minnesota. Read Kelsey’s post about NAGPRA in archives!

Southeastern Archaeology Conference (SEAC)

Paul Welch and Melody Pope at SEAC

Curator Melody Pope attended the 75th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference in Augusta, Georgia.  Pope, along with colleague Paul Welch, presented results of their recent research that involves replicating and  using microdrills to study the wear patterns that develop on drill bits used to bore holes in fluorite, cannel coal, and marine shell.  This newly-launched collaborative research project between Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and the GBL at IU uses experimental archaeology to interpret the Fluorite Workshop at the Kincaid site located in the lower Ohio Valley.


Collections news

Save America’s Treasures Grant

In September 2018, the GBL was awarded a Save America’s Treasures grant to rehabilitate and rehouse about 2.8 million artifacts from Angel Mounds over the next 3 years. These grants are administered by the National Park Service in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The “Curating Angel” project will allow us to provide safe, long-term preservation of the artifacts and associated documentation from archaeological work at Angel Mounds and make these collections more accessible for research and education. Keep checking our website for up-to-date information as we officially launch the project in January 2019!

More about IMLS: The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities.

GLOVE Digitizing – Shawnee THDS

Photo courtesy of IU Communications

Selena McCracken was hired at the end of January 2018 to digitize the Shawnee Tribal History Document Series (THDS) of the Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Collection. This was done as part of a contract established with the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and an IMLS grant. As of September, Selena finished digitizing the series, amassing 12,603 images that will be made viewable online via the finding aid.

Kellar Papers Processing and Rehousing

Photo courtesy of IU Communications

Bill Koester worked on processing and rehousing the collection of Dr. James Kellar, a noted archaeologist and the first director of Indiana University’s Glenn Black Lab. Read more about his work on his blog!


Summer news

Wylie House Excavations

Over the summer, the GBL continued work at the Wylie House as part of IU’s celebration of the upcoming bicentennial. Students involved in the dig posted weekly updates on our blog, find them here!

Angel Mounds Historic Marker

A photo of the marker at Angel Mounds, courtesy of Mike Linderman.

April Sievert and Mike Linderman with the marker at Angel Mounds.

Over the summer, a marker was erected at the Angel Mounds Historic Site to recognize Glenn Black for his contribution to Indiana archaeology and to Angel Mounds.


Exhibits

Out With the Old: “Containing Knowledge: Ceramics at the GBL”

Exploring pottery as containers in both literal and metaphorical ways, this exhibit featured a selection of whole pots as well as objects used to make and decorate ceramics. Technology, decoration, use, and cosmology were touched on through the use of beautiful images and pieces. A special section of the exhibit looked at the work of local archaeology students and their efforts to temper clay and build and fire pots in the ways that Mississippian people might have.

The exhibit closed in Summer 2018.

 In With the New: “Animal~Spirit~Human”

For Themester 2018, the GBL explores interpretation of the complex and varying relationships between animals and humans in the ancient Midwest. Depictions of animals are known to be among some of the earliest mural and decorative art, for example, the well-known Paleolithic cave art of Europe that depicts now-extinct species. Whether rendered into wood, clay, stone, metal, or shell, animals contribute much to the symbolic and iconographic content of Native American representation.

The exhibit opened in October 2018.


volunteer and student appreciation

           Collections: Hannah Ballard, Preet Gill, Darlene McDermott, and                                                       Amanda Pavot

           Library: Bill Koester, Victoria Kvietek, Selena McCracken, and                                                          Brianna McLaughlin

           Programming: Hannah Rea

 Thank you to all who gave their time this semester!


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Fall 2018: From the Desk of the Curator

December 6, 2018

 

If I had to pick one word to describe the summer and fall at the GBL it would be FIRST.  Librarian Kelsey Grimm and Collections Manager, Jennifer St. Germain officially joined our staff in July, growing our professional staff for the first time by two!  We installed a new exhibit in our main gallery, a first for the present staff.  In partnership with IU Themester 2018, Animal-Spirit-Human, opened in October, followed by two related programming events in early November.  We are excited about the exhibit and the improvements it brought to the Mentoria Headdy Hall.

In early fall we learned that the Save America’s Treasures grant proposal we submitted over the winter was selected for funding.  Curating Angel Mounds Legacy Collection was one of only seven Museum Collection grants awarded by the NPS through an interagency agreement with the IMLS.  This is an important first for GBL, and Angel Mounds.  For the FIRST time since arriving on the IU campus in the late 1960s, the grant will allow the Angel Mounds legacy collection, (1939-1983), to be organized and housed in archival-quality containers.  Rehousing the collection is a first step in its eventual transfer to the new ALF 3 collections facility on the IUB campus.  The Curating Angel project will also organize the associated excavation records, create a complete digitized catalogue of the 1939-1983 images, reorganize the research collections, and no doubt spawn many new collections-based research projects.  We are excited to embark on this important FIRST!

In addition to these important firsts, we were also busy hosting researchers including some familiar to the GBL, former Curator of Collections, Dru McGill, and other Southeastern and Midwestern archaeologists David Dye, Paul Welch, Cheryl Munson, Ed Herrmann, and Cheryl Claassen. These researchers took an interest in the whole pot collection, state site files, Angel Mounds and other late pre-contact collections, and materials analysis laboratory. We also provided images from the 1974 Prairie Creek Field School to the Daviess County Museum, for a new exhibit and we are currently collaborating with the Indiana Historical Society on the You Are There 1939: Exploring Angel Mounds exhibit, planned for a spring 2019 opening. It is exciting to see all of this interest in GBL collections and facilities!

 

 

 

Melody Pope, Curator

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Planning an Exhibit

November 27, 2018

Planning an exhibit takes a lot of time and energy on the part of all involved. During the process of putting up our new exhibit, “Animal~Spirit~Human,” we created a to-do list to make sure we checked all the boxes and put up an exhibit we were proud of.

Here’s a condensed version of that list:

1. Generate Theme

Our exhibit followed this semester’s Themester theme of animal-human relationships. “Animal~Spirit~Human” follows that theme by investigating the role of animals in sustaining and inspiring past and present Native people of the Eastern Woodlands. Once we had our theme in mind, we were able to create a uniform aesthetic to make sure all of the cases matched. This entailed picking fonts and a color scheme, and determining what size each of the different labels should be, to make sure all exhibit goers could easily read them.

2. Select Artifacts/Prepare Condition Reports

With that theme in mind, we were able to get an idea of what artifacts to include. Each case plays a different role in telling the story of animal-human relationships. The cases on the north wall of the gallery hall serve as an introduction to the exhibit. The east wall examines a worldview in terms of different spheres, such as air and water. The south wall compares pre- and post-European contact animal populations. And the west wall is dedicated to examining animal-human relations at Angel Mounds.

An example of an artifact photo, this one of an owl effigy pot (18-170-0).

This means each wall’s theme determines the contents of its cases, allowing us to get an idea of what artifacts would best explain and exemplify the theme. Once we selected the artifacts, we photographed them and wrote condition reports. These detail the current condition of the artifacts by noting breakage, cracks, and repairs. They allow us to keep track of where the artifact is and why it was removed from the collections. When we take the exhibit down, we’ll do another round of condition reports to see if anything changed.

3. Prepare Exhibit Cases

Repainting the exhibit cases took GBL staff several days of after-hours work.

Putting in a new exhibit required us to take out the old, Containing Knowledge: Ceramics at the GBL.” After doing the follow-up photos and condition reports, we returned the artifacts to our collections. Once we removed the old display blocks and the cases were empty, we spent several days cleaning and repainting them. This brightened the exhibit space and made the gallery look more inviting. Many artifacts are unable to stand on their own, so it was necessary to create mounts for them. We carved mounts out of foam and other materials on which to display them. The foam mounts were covered with a layer of fabric in between the material and the artifact, for both the safety of the artifact and to provide a contrasting background.

4. Research Collections and Write Text

Now it was time to write the text and select relevant images. Each case has four categories of labels: the Title (A), the Subheader (B), the Body Text (C), and the Artifact ID Labels (D). Defining the terminology of labels early on can prevent confusion later in the process, and make it easier to visualize the layout of the case before anything actually goes up. To write descriptions of the artifacts and their relevance to the theme, we utilize the collections and the resources in our library and archives.

5. Print Text/Images and Cut to Size

It took several hours to print each label, in addition to the time dedicated to trim and place them.

The next step was to print the text and images. This is a very time-consuming process, due to the size and amount of the various labels. We used the large printer over at our neighbor, the Mathers Museum, to print on Print-N-Stick paper, which has an adhesive backing that allows us to adjust the placement of the labels if necessary without damaging the paint in the cases.

6. Install Artifacts

During this step, timing is important since we can’t leave artifacts in unlocked cases. In most cases, the text was the first to go in. Then blocks or risers which elevated or raised the artifacts to needed heights were selected based on the artifact selection and case design. Artifacts and mounts, as well as barriers between artifacts and painted surfaces, were then added. Once the artifacts were in place, the case stays locked; so if text needed adjusting it was much easier to do that while the case was open and easily accessible.

7. Finishing Touches

Now it was time for last-minute touch-ups to labels and placement of any other artifacts. These included repairs to the overhead lights in the cases, and the erection of the folding wall in the middle of the hall, which displays shields from four tribes and descriptions of their histories, provided by the tribes themselves.

8. Sharing the Exhibit

Marketing the exhibit was an ongoing process throughout development and installation, but the main push came upon our opening in early October.

9. Events

An image from Cheryl Claassen’s talk.

Finally, to celebrate the opening of our exhibit, we threw events: on Thursday, Nov. 1, we had a talk by Dr. Cheryl Claassen, “On Deer, Shell Beads, and the Milky Way.” The following day, Friday, Nov. 2, we had a Themester panel, featuring Amanda Burtt, Dr. Claassen, Justin Downs, and Gary Morseau.

We learned a lot in the process of putting up this exhibit, and look forward to applying these new insights in the future. In the meantime, we hope you’ll come down to see the exhibit and celebrate Themester by attending some of the other great events on campus this semester!

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Spring 2018 Newsletter

From the Desk of the Curator

Click here to read a message from Curator Melody Pope.


Collections News

The Eastern Shawnee Tribe received a grant from the Institute of Museum Library Services (IMLS) to digitize documents in the Great Lake Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Collection, a tribal history series related to their tribe.  As part of this grant, the GBL hosted two Shawnee archivists for a week-long workshop on archives preservation and access.

The GBL accessioned two new donations to its library collections, and four new donations to its archaeological collections.

Library Acquisitions

IU Lilly House Transfer Donation

GBL staff coordinated with the IU President’s Office and staff of the Eli and Ruth Allison Lilly House, the IU President’s Indianapolis residence, to transfer the Lilly Map to the James H. Kellar Library in February.  The Lilly Map is a “Map of Indiana” published by the National Map Company in the early 1900s. Mounted in a wooden frame, Eli Lilly, likely with help from Glenn Black, marked locations of different types of archaeological sites using color-coded pushpins. It is the first map to depict the locations of known archaeological sites in Indiana, now something accomplished with GIS with a click of a mouse. We are currently researching the map and planning to have it digitally scanned, photographed and eventually displayed at the GBL.  GBL Librarian Kelsey Grimm provides additional information on the map in an Artifact Spotlight feature on our webpage, check it out!

The Constance Strawn Donation

Constance Strawn, a former IU student, donated a collection of technological drawings and employee newsletters from the Goodman Manufacturing Company of Chicago, Illinois.  The newsletters date to the 1940s and are a fascinating source of social commentary by the company employees.  Also included in the donation are a set of blueprints from the Liquid Carbonic Corporation. Ms. Strawn acquired these items in the early 2000s.  See the GBL official blog The Dirt for a short post on the newsletters, “Electrical Mining” by GBL Librarian Kelsey Grimm!

Archaeology Acquisitions

The Garre Conner Donation

Garre Conner of Evansville, Indiana donated a handstone he found while hiking in the bed of Little Indian Creek in Monroe County.

The James L. Heflin Donation

James L. Heflin of Greenburg, Indiana donated archaeological collections from Phase I survey and Phase II testing at six Shelby County sites documented during archaeological survey for the Rockies Express Pipeline, LLC.  The survey, conducted between March of 2007 and May of 2008, documented both pre-contact and EuroAmerican sites on property owned by the Heflin family.

The Elizabeth A. York Donation

Elizabeth A. York of Ellettsville, Indiana donated a pre-Columbian ceramic bottle and whistle.  Acquired in the early 1900’s by family members then associated with Malena Corporation Pharmaceuticals, established by Chauncey F. York, Elizabeth York was pleased to donate these items to the GBL, where they are currently on display in our lobby.

The Marcia Staser Donation

The family of Marcia Staser donated two Peruvian ceramic vessels.  Marcia Staser acquired the vessels in 1968 in the Zappallel region, near Lima.

Research requests and inquiries prompted a number of dives into the archaeology and archives collections. Staff worked with Mike Strezewski, University of Southern Indiana, to select carbon samples for radiometric dating in support of Strezewski’s new research initiative focused on the Middle Woodland Mann phase in Indiana.  Discoidals from several early Clark County Mississippian period collections were located for a research publication that Cheryl Munson is working on.  A request from David Dye from the University of Memphis sent us into the Eli Lilly Papers in the archives with the hopes of finding provenance information for two Mississippian bowls in the Lilly Collection previously studied by southeastern archaeologist, Philip Phillips. This inquiry also led us to the Indiana Historical Society Papers housed at the GBL.  Although we have yet to trace the history of these two particular vessels, reading Glenn Black’s weekly correspondence to the Indiana Historical Society revealed a wealth of information on Indiana archaeology and its administration during the first half of the 20th century, a research topic our curatorial staff will be pursing in the near future.

This spring we provided a copy of the George Winter painting, The Council of Keewaunay, on display in the GBL lobby, to the Smithsonian for a traveling exhibit.  We also provided images of Glenn Black to the Indiana Historical Society for an article on Black in their member magazine, INPerspective.


Trips and conferences

In early January GBL, staff attended the Miami Winter Gathering in Miami, Oklahoma.  In April, several staff members attended the 83rd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, held in Washington, D.C.  Several IU graduate students involved with the Learning NAGPRA Project gave presentations and GBL Archaeology Fellow Amanda Burtt co-chaired the symposium Innovative Approaches to Human-Canine Interactions. The D.C. meeting also provided opportunities for the GBL curator and collections manager to participate in collections-oriented workshops, to tour many of the Smithsonian Museums and take in the spring weather and beautiful cherry blossoms. Another D.C. highlight was the chance to see the current installation of Cars at the Capital, a 1984 Plymouth Voyager, the first Chrysler minivan. Who knew that there is a National Historic Vehicle Register (NHVR)?!

A 1984 Plymouth Voyager, part of the ‘Cars at the Capital’ exhibit on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The front of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.


Exhibits

Out With the Old: “Women in Archaeology”

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Glenn A. Black Lab of Archaeology created an exhibit to pay tribute to the archaeological efforts of the women of our past.  The exhibit was split into two parts: the first, a physical wall of photos in the GBL lobby; the second, a larger, digital collection of photos, with longer captions detailing the subject matter.  The photos were made available as part of an ongoing digitization effort by our media team.

In With the New: “Hats in Archaeology”

Produced in conjunction with the Mathers Museum of World Cultures 2018 exhibit “Heads and Tales,” our exhibit “Hats of Archaeology” takes a look at the various head fashions used in Indiana archaeology throughout the last century. The hats may not have been chosen explicitly to make a statement, but by looking at these photographs from our collection, we can get a sense of how people thought about clothing throughout the last century.


Field Work

Field work and artifact analysis for the Bean Blossom Creek survey are wrapping up. Over 50 new sites spanning the Archaic Period through recent history were recorded, documenting northern Monroe County’s occupation from 8000 BCE through the 1960s.

The GBL is also gearing up for a summer field school and excavations at Wylie House museum to celebrate IU’s Bicentennial. In order to remotely locate subterranean greenhouses built in the 1860s for Rebecca Wylie, the GBL has partnered with Todd Thompson, Director of the Indiana Geological and Water Survey, to perform a ground-penetrating radar survey in front lawn of the Wylie House. Interpretations are still pending data processing, but preliminary results indicate a ground disturbance in the location of the greenhouses.


Past events

We had a great time at the Lotus Blossoms World Bazaar and the 7th Annual Powwow.  Thanks for coming out to see us!

We also had fun celebrating IU Day.  We’re so grateful to be part of this amazing community of museums and institutions.

Follow us on social media for photos!  And don’t forget to check out our new series on Instagram — each Friday we share a different artifact!

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Best of Blogs

Here are some great pieces written by staff and students this semester:

“A Point in Time” by Isabel Osmundsen

“The Importance of Archaeology from the Not So Distant Past” by Aaron Estes


Volunteer and Intern Appreciation

The GBL was pleased to host two museum practicum students this spring.  Wells Scholar Victoria Kvitek worked as a collections care assistant and was able to gain valuable hands-on experience preparing new donations for storage and assisting with the relocation of the over-sized collection.

Anthropology graduate student Molly Mesner rehoused the lithic artifacts from the 1967 expedition to the Mann site led by GBL’s first director, Jim Kellar.

Darlene McDermott volunteered her time this semester to continue her practicum project from the fall, completing catalog information for the whole vessel collection.

Anthropology graduate student Catherine Smith and business and history major Colin Gliniecki worked on Angel Mounds documentation for repatriation.

Selena McCracken, information and library science graduate student, is digitizing the Shawnee tribal history documents, and Logan Carte, Cox Scholar Intern, assisted with cataloging the Jonathan Reyman collection of southwest archaeology books.

Hannah Rea, journalism and history major, volunteered her time to coordinate our social media blogs and posts, and to publish our newsletter.

Thank you to all who gave their time this semester!

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From the Desk of the Curator – Spring 2018

April 27, 2018

I enjoy writing this piece because it provides an opportunity to reflect on our work over the past several months and to share our accomplishments. Spring 2018 has seen a flurry of activity at the GBL, along with the seemingly never-ending snow flurries.

The curatorial staff continued the confronting collections initiatives with the submission of two major collections grants early in the new year. Curating Angel, submitted to the National Park Service Save Americas Treasures Program, is a project to rehabilitate the Angel Mounds legacy (1939-1983) collection of artifacts, associated paper documents and film images. The bulk collections will be prepared for curation at the new IU ALF 3 facility. The project also proposes to organize and rehouse the reference collection and create a complete digital catalog for the collection. Restoring Indigenous Heritage: Digitizing Tribal History Documents of the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley Region, submitted to the Council on Library and Information Resources Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives, with assistance from federally recognized tribes, will digitize, describe and make accessible the Tribal History Document Series of the Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Collection housed at the GBL. Other Confronting Collection projects underway involve the continued development of research tools in support of a complete digital archaeological collections catalog, as well as collections catalogs for archival records and images.

While collections initiatives are a current priority, the curatorial staff also supports research, exhibitions and publishing. Researching  Angel Foodways through the study of ceramics, animal bones and stone tools from a large unusual pit excavated by WPA crews at Angel Mounds is ongoing. Results to date have identified a variety of types of animal remain including a large quantity of deer, squirrel, turkey and geese, as well as some exceptionally large gar fish, golden eagle, crow and owl. An interesting discovery of extremely worn raccoon teeth, suggests the possibility that it was purposively fed or a village scavenger. Over 5,000 analyzed sherds from the pit reveal variation in the types and sizes of vessels.  The ceramic data will shed new light on food preparation and serving practices, ceramic manufacturing, and chronology. The analysis of stone and bone tools has identified numerous bone pins, awls, shell hoes, painted turtle shells and expedient flake tools, many of which were used in animal processing tasks.  We anticipate publishing on the results of this research in the fall.

In partnership with the Indiana State Museum and State Historic Sites, the GBL co-curated a catalog of 28 items as part of a new exhibit at Angel Mounds SHS/NHL, Eli Lilly and Glenn Black: The Story of Early Archaeology in Indiana. Eli Lilly’s life embodies the move from collecting antiquities to scientific archaeology. Lilly pursued his interests in Indiana’s past with his partner, Glenn Black.  Together, Lilly and Black launched the discipline of archaeology in Indiana. The exhibit will display for the first time many items from Lilly’s extensive collection. This spring we installed a new lobby and digital exhibit, Hats of Archaeology, in conjunction with the Mather’s Museum of World Cultures 2018 exhibit “Heads and Tales.” Hats of Archaeology continues the installation of images from our historic photograph archives and looks at the various head fashions worn by Indiana archaeologists throughout the last century. We are currently planning a new exhibit in the Mentoria Headdy Gallery for Themester 2018, the theme of which is “Animal/Human.”  The exhibit, whose opening will correspond with an invited panel of archaeologists and Native American scholars, will explore questions of the “Animal/Human” theme. In addition to the new gallery exhibit, plans are underway for new lobby displays as well.

Work is underway for a new fume hood installation, and this required relocating the over-sized collections. This was no small effort, and we thank all our staff who participated in this project. As always, when we engage with our collections we find a few new hidden gems, one of which will be on display this spring in the GBL lobby and featured in the June Artifact Spotlight on our webpage. Check it out!

Lastly, our staff participated and/or hosted a number of tours and stakeholder engagements, including a visit from President McRobbie and Governor Eric Holcomb, a NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) consultation on Angel Mounds (in partnership with IU NAGPRA), the Indiana Archaeology Council Spring Social and the annual Lotus Blossoms Program.

Melody Pope, Curator

 

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Negotiating Homelands and Sovereignty in Indiana Territory

October 9, 2017

by Hannah Rea, Social Media Intern

The DeVault Gallery of the Mathers Museum was packed full as students and community members gathered to hear a panel discussion on sovereignty and identity as part of Themester 2017.

“Negotiating Homelands and Sovereignty in Indiana Territory,” hosted by the Glenn Black Lab, featured a discussion moderated by Heather Williams, Program Assistant for the FNECC, and commentary by the panelists: George Ironstrack, Assistant Director of the Myaamia Center at Miami University; Stephen Warren, Professor of History at the University of Iowa; and Holly Cusack-McVeigh, Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies at IUPUI.

Each panelist addressed a central question: How have Native Americans continued to be outsiders in their own land?

Cusack-McVeigh spoke first, using her experience with a water quality project in Alaska to examine how different backgrounds can affect our perspectives.  She focused on the theme of place: the western view of place is that of inanimate land, whereas the Yup’ik Eskimos, with whom she had worked, viewed the land as a “revered ancestor.”  She explained that issues facing indigenous peoples are more than just tangible losses, but of cultural and spiritual losses.

Ironstrack spoke next, drawing on his time with the Myaamia Center, a department hosted by the Miami of Oklahoma at Miami University of Ohio.  He focused on the theme of otherness; following the forced relocation of Myaamia from their homes in Indiana to Kansas and, after the Civil War, to Oklahoma, a division was created within the tribe.  Those who had stayed behind in Indiana were isolated and, still to this day, cannot on their own qualify as a federally recognized tribe.  He concluded that it’s more than just a spatial problem; the Myaamia in Indiana lack the basis for legal and political sovereignty, and with it the rights and connection to others with whom they identify as out-of-state kin.

The final speaker was Warren, who used his experience as a non-Native to address issues that face indigenous peoples today.  He spoke on the theme of appropriation, brought about especially in the Midwest by repeated attempts at ethnic cleansing of those native to the territory.  Appropriation is the adoption of American Indian culture by non-natives.  One of the most destructive trends in Ohio is the repeated desecration of graves by amateur archaeologists, taking advantage of laws allowing the excavation of cemeteries, and by private land owners who choose to destroy burial mounds on their land for fear of reduced property value.  He warned that this destruction and the trend of appropriation will continue until it is recognized as the serious threat that it is.

After a brief Q&A session, the crowd went to the GBL for the opening of the new exhibit, “Mapping Indiana Territory: Exploring Indigenous and Western Representations,” a display of maps from the Indiana territory through the years.  The exhibit is also accessible online.

Thanks to our panelists for a great discussion, and to the Mathers Museum for having us!

Did you miss the talk?  Watch it on our Facebook.

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Women in Archaeology — Press Release

March 29, 2017

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Glenn A. Black Lab of Archaeology created an exhibit to pay tribute to the archaeological efforts of the women of our past.  The exhibit is split into two parts: the first, a physical wall of photos in the GBL lobby.  The second, a larger, digital collection of photos, with longer captions detailing the subject matter.  The photos were available as part of an ongoing digitization effort by our media team.

The online exhibit can be found here.

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Saying Goodbye to the ‘Work in Progress’ Exhibit

March 28, 2017

by Hannah Rea, Social Media Intern

The “Work in Progress” exhibit was created in the run-up to the Glenn A. Black Lab’s 50th Birthday last year.  It was an attempt to shine a realistic light on the often-romanticized field of archaeology, by providing faces to accompany the names and discoveries of sites associated with the GBL.

“The real work of archaeology takes place in muddy fields, tidy labs, and in contentious journals and conferences,” the explanation of the exhibit read. “The photographs show the sometimes hilarious, sometimes miserable, but always interesting work that went into building our understanding of Indiana’s past.”

A timeline of Indiana history accompanied the photographs, providing artifacts and details of certain eras of life pre-European contact in the Hoosier State.

To make the exhibit more interactive for the public, sheets of paper were attached to each photo for visitors to write their thoughts and reflections on the photos.

Here are some of the interesting comments we received:

“The only person wearing pants is a woman. Things have changed.”

And a reply: “Sample is too small and there are women in shorts in the pic[ture] also.  Have times really changed?”

“Cuff game strong”

“Heads up!”

“That is hard work.”

“I miss the old archaeologist/explorer hats everyone used to wear, like the one the guy from ‘Tarzan’ has.”

Thank you to everyone who left comments!

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