Summer/Fall 2017 Newsletter

From the Desk of the Curator

Click here to read a message from Curator Melody Pope.


Summer Conferences

Learning NAGPRA, Santa Fe

In August, the Learning NAGPRA project held its third and final collegium meeting on the campus of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The group was assembled from across North America, from Washington State to Washington, D.C. Three days of meetings solidified curriculum materials to be used in college courses, case studies and web-based training, which will become available for use in spring 2018. We toured the art storage, curation, and museum studies teaching facilities at IAIA. We rounded out the trip with a visit to Saint Dominic Feast Day at Kewa Pueblo, where hundreds of dancers celebrated and many homes opened their doors to feed visitors delicious meals. Many thanks go out to our hosts for the meeting, Jessie Ryker-Crawford and Felipe Colón, faculty of the Museum Studies Program at IAIA.

-April Sievert

ALA Conference, Chicago

The American Library Association (ALA) conference was held in Chicago, Illinois, June 22-27 at McCormick’s Place. This is my second time attending the ALA conference and it still feels HUGE. I’m so incredibly grateful that I get to attend and hear the amazing things that are happening in libraries and archives all over the country (and, really, the world). The city is wonderful and I enjoyed my time just tooling around different bookshops and museums before the conference began. At McCormick’s Place, I attended sessions on instructing as a librarian; inclusion across libraries, archives, and museums; outreach practices; and giving voice to diverse collections through digitization. We have big dreams for the Kellar Library and assisting those who could use our incredible document collections. Look out for new developments in our library, coming soon!

-Kelsey Grimm


Fall Conferences

GBL staff had a busy fall conference season.

Curator Melody Pope, along with Director April Sievert, Collections Manger Jennifer St. Germain, Librarian Kelsey Grimm, and Registrar Terry Harley-Wilson, presented, “Confronting Collections at the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology for the 21st Century” in a symposium titled “Archaeological Collections Management in the Midwest During the Curation Crisis,” at the 61st Annual Meeting of the Midwest Archaeological Conference, Inc., in Indianapolis.  Pope and Graduate student Molly Mesner also presented a paper at the Midwest Archaeological Conference, “Polishing Our Understanding: Microwear Analysis at the Mann Site.”

A few weeks later we were off to Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the 74th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference where Pope and Sievert co-organized with former-GBL Curator Dru McGill a curation symposium titled “Innovative and Best Practice Approaches to Legacy Collections-Based Research in the Southeast.” Both Pope and Sievert also contributed papers in the symposium.  Pope presented “From Research to Exhibit Development and Beyond:  Unleashing the Impact of Legacy Collections at the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology,” and Sievert presented “Repatriation, Records, and the Legacies of Collecting.”

“The acknowledgements of women working in archaeology has notably flourished in recent memory, but who were the pioneering American women of our profession?” (from the Abstract of “Women at Work: Acknowledging Women’s Legacy in Archaeology”)Click here to read more about the poster symposium our Librarian, Kelsey, and Leslie Drane organized at this year’s Midwestern Archaeological Conference.


Collections News

We’re almost done cataloging our general collection of books! This process started last year and was greatly aided by two Jesse H. and Beulah Chanley Cox Scholar awardees who spent eight hours each per week working on copy-cataloging our books. We are organizing our collection according to the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system which groups similar subjects together. Our catalog of books has been made available online, too! This means anyone can search our collection of books by title, author, subject, publishing year from the comfort of their home. Just visit our LibraryThing catalog to see for yourself!

The Glenn A. Black Lab accepted several donated collections over the summer and fall:

The Charles Theodore Jacobs Collections

The family of Charles Theodore Jacobs donated field notes and photographs from the personal papers of Charles Jacobs, who was a member of the 1949 Angel Mounds field school.  This donation was very timely and will be a great contribution to the Angel Mounds Field School Archive.  Click here to read more about Charles Jacobs’ archaeology adventures.

The Timmy Kendall Collection

Timmy Kendall donated his collection of 28 projectile points that he had collected during his tenure at Purdue University where we conducted agricultural field research between 1975 and 1977.  During his field inspections we collected projectile points from the surface of sites in Tippecanoe County.  Mr. Kendall’s points will be integrated into our projectile point comparative collection.

The Kent Vickery Collection

Kent Vickery (1942-2011) earned his doctorate in Anthropology at Indiana University in 1976.  His dissertation is titled “An Approach to Inferring Archaeological Variability.”  He retired as Professor of Anthropology from the University of Cincinnati.  Collections and field records from some of his early field work in Indiana conducted at Mounds State Park, Yankeetown, Angel Mounds, and the Mann site were transferred from the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology to the GBL in late November. Thanks to DHPA staff Rachel Sharkey, Megan Copenhaver, and DNR Forestry Archaeologist A.J. Ariens for facilitating the transfer.

Federal Collections

The GBL curates federal collections for the USDA Hoosier National Forest and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division (NSWC).  Over the summer and fall we received three survey collections from Hoosier National Forest and two survey collections from NSWC.


Exhibits

Out With the Old: “Shawnee Pottery”

In an ongoing effort to reclaim the beauty of traditional Shawnee pottery, a collaboration was launched between archaeologists, scholars, and tribal members to rediscover the ancient ceramic technologies that were disrupted by European colonization.  This resulting pottery was on display at the Glenn Black Lab as part of the 2016 Themester.

In With the New: “Mapping Indiana Territory”

In keeping with the Themester 2017 theme of “Diversity, Difference, Otherness,” Glenn Black Lab staff, Native historians, and scholars collaborated to create an exhibit that demonstrated Indiana’s representation in maps.  It juxtaposes images of examples of EuroAmerican-made maps and images of indigenous representations of the Indiana and Ohio Valley landscapes, in order to point out how problematic it is to favor western world views and ways of knowing over others.


Field Work

As we mark the 50th anniversary of the GBL, and the bicentennial anniversaries of the State of Indiana, Monroe County, and Indiana University, we feel that there has been no better time to emphasize local archaeological research and resources.

To explore the deeper history of Bloomington and wider Monroe County, the GBL initiated a survey project during the summer of 2017 to identify and document new archaeological sites in the region. The GBL received a grant award from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. This grant enabled GBL Associate Research Scientist Elizabeth Watts Malouchos and a crew of intrepid students to investigate eight previously unsurveyed nature preserves in the Bean Blossom Creek drainage basin in the northern half of Monroe County. Although the Bean Blossom Creek survey is still ongoing, thus far the crew has surveyed a great deal of acreage, dug over 1600 shovel test pits, and identified just over 50 new archaeological sites ranging in origin from the Archaic to Historic Periods. In the process, students have gained experience and learned new skills in survey methodology, archaeological excavations, artifact identification and processing, avoiding yellow jackets, and charming neighbor dogs. It has certainly been a successful and enjoyable summer and fall of fieldwork!


Volunteer and Student Appreciation

Students

           Bicentennial Intern: Maclaren Guthrie

           Collections: Colin Gliniecki, Oliver Hourihan, Darlene McDermott, Jennifer Musgrave, and Catherine Smith

           Library: Logan Carte and Lydia Lutz

           Programming: Hannah Rea

 Volunteers

           Collections: Marge Faber and Pat Harris

Thank you to all who gave their time this semester!

In Memoriam: Charles Theodore Jacobs

The following is part of a donation by the family of Charles Theodore Jacobs.

Charles Theodore Jacobs

(September 12, 1925 – May 27, 2017)

Charles T. Jacobs was born and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin. At the age of 18, Charles enlisted in the U.S. Navy and proudly served our country on board the U.S.S. SIMS (APD-50). Upon his return from WW2 in 1946, Charles began taking classes at Beloit College under the GI Bill. Charles took some pre-med courses, but quickly became more interested in archaeology, anthropology, and geology. In the summer of 1948 Charles took part in an archaeological excavation at Diamond Bluff, Wisconsin, which was described in the newspaper article found below.

Diamond Bluff – 1948
Charles and fellow digger working at Diamond Bluff

In 1949, Charles headed south to Indiana and took part in a summer field school at Angel Mounds under the direction of Glenn A. Black.

1949 Field School at Angel Mounds
Charles (right) at Angel Mounds – 1949

In June of 1950, Charles graduated from Beloit College with a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in anthropology and archeology. Shortly after graduation, Charles headed to Hazen, North Dakota, for a summer excavating trip with the River Basin Survey (RBS), a unit of the Smithsonian Institute. The RBS archaeologists had a prioritized list of sites to excavate and study before the sites were destroyed by the reservoir waters of various flood control, irrigation, and hydroelectric power projects.

News Article on 1950 dig near Hazen, North Dakota
Mandan Indian Lodges in North Dakota

After his work on the RBS, Charles returned to Kenosha, Wisconsin. He got married, took a job in the insurance industry and moved to suburban Chicago to raise a family.
Charles never forgot the enjoyment and thrills he had working with fellow archaeologists as they uncovered artifacts that helped to understand, document, and preserve the history of Native American cultures. Charles loved to take his children and grandchildren to museums where he could show them exhibits about ancient civilizations. Whether walking in the woods or strolling on a vacation property, Charles would often stoop down to examine an object to see if perhaps it was an artifact from the past. He had the pleasure of speaking about the life of an archaeologist to his granddaughters 5th grade class.
In 1990, Charles attended an archaeologist’s reunion where he met several of his life-long friends from his digging days. Many photos and stories were shared about their archaeology adventures.

From the Desk of the Curator – Summer/Fall 2017

December 2017

Melody Pope, Curator

This summer and fall have been about confronting the collections, particularly the GBL legacy Angel Mounds and Lilly collections.   Collections Assistant and bioanthropology graduate student Catherine Smith dove into the field records associated with the Angel Mounds Collection and began systematically compiling information on mortuary and archaeological contexts needed to complete NAGPRA inventories.  Collections Assistant Alex Elliott has assisted in time studies completed on selected Angel Mounds artifact and faunal collections, which resulted in our discovery that we have some mold issues to confront in our legacy collections. Collections Manager Jennifer St. Germain designed new data entry templates for both osteology and archaeology for NAGPRA documentation.

This year’s Indiana Archaeology Month poster and t-shirt theme, Eli Lilly’s Legacy, had us confronting the Lilly Collection for suitable images for both items, as requested by the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology.

The 2017 Archaeology Month Poster and T-shirt featuring two birdstones from the Lilly Collection.

This semester we were happy to host two museum practicum student projects, both of which are also focused on the Lilly Collection.  Jennifer Musgrave began compiling biographies of the Lilly Collection accessions as part of a museum practicum project.  The Lilly Collection consists of over 35,000 items and 76 accessions.  This project is opening doors for exploring the role of private collectors and collecting in the first half of the 20th century and is engaging us in new ways with the Lilly Collection, its various “collectors” and the changing and sometimes contentious relationships between academics, collectors, and collectors-turned underwriters of archaeology. This project is not only spawning new research and exhibit themes, but it will also be incorporated into a planned Collections Catalogue publication.  For the second project, Darlene McDermott began the task of documenting the GBL whole pot collection.  For this project we are developing descriptive metadata fields and protocols for photographing each vessel, starting with accession 18, which is part of the Lilly Collection.

President Michael A. McRobbie hosted an IU Collections Summit in early September, which provided lots of good feedback and an opportunity to meet other IU curatorial staff.  We are gearing up for lots of collections care work in the coming months leading up to the opening of the new planned IU collections facility, ALF3, short for Auxiliary Library Facility 3 (yes, there is an ALF 1 and 2).

In keeping with the Lilly legacy theme, we had the opportunity to visit the Lilly House in Indianapolis, which also serves as the Indianapolis residence of IU President McRobbie and his wife Laurie.  We were invited to the house by Laurie to view a large wooden map created by Eli Lilly to mark the locations of archaeological sites he and Glenn Black had compiled throughout the state.  We are hoping soon to transfer the map to the GBL for public display. Not only is the map a legacy to the work of Eli Lilly and Glenn Black, but it will hopefully spawn new work and additions to the Indiana state site file.

A portion of the Eli Lilly map showing the locations of archaeological sites.

With the help of volunteers Marge Faber and Pat Harris, the first phase of work to reorganize the education collection was completed. We are looking forward to having the collection updated in our database to facilitate the next phase of work, which will identify theme-based teaching modules.

And last but not least, work was completed for a NEH grant for rehousing the historic photographic collections over the summer, which included the purchase of a new freezer for housing negatives and prints.  Collections Assistant Bailey Foust has digitized over 5,000 black-and-white negatives and 6,000 color slides, many of which are available on Indiana University’s Image Collections Online.

Melody Pope, Curator of Collections

Women at Work

The acknowledgements of women working in archaeology has notably flourished in recent memory, but who were the pioneering American women of our profession? For over a century, women have taken on many roles in archaeology with varying levels of professional education and have been successful in contributing to the field. Whether toiling over lab work or excavating great features, these archaeologists have not always been given proper recognition for their work. This session highlights the contributions of several female archaeologists from across the Midwest and brings to light the often undervalued contributions of those who helped make archaeology what it is today. By telling these stories we hope to starts a conversation about the politics of recognition, and inspire others to provide a more complete understanding of women’s influence in shaping archaeology and the Midwest.

Abstract for “Women at Work: Acknowledging Women’s Legacy in Archaeology”

My inquiry into Midwestern female archaeologists began last year when the Indiana Historical Bureau sent a call for papers for their spring conference Hoosier Women at Work in the Sciences. Those of us working at the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology (GBL) got pretty excited. We wanted to find a way to participate because we knew that the records we use daily were often written by women. Women made a huge impact on the work accomplished here at the GBL. Thus began our journey…

After submitting my proposal for the conference and getting accepted, I began researching three particular women with strong ties to the collections of the GBL: Ida Black, wife of our namesake Glenn Black; Frances Martin, an aprofessional archaeologist who worked alongside Glenn at archaeology sites for years; and Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin, the maestra who orchestrated the Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Project. Each woman had differing levels of education, influence, and immersion in their disciplines, but all contributed to growing archaeological and ethnohistorical work in the Midwest.

Ida can be seen in our image collections alongside Glenn at Nowlin Mound in the early 1930s; she was his constant companion throughout their years at Angel Mounds, too. Frances Martin received a college education, but viewed archaeology more as a hobby to enjoy every weekend. Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin held several college degrees and essentially founded the discipline of ethnohistory. Her work and foresight in the 1950s at Indiana University led to the creation of the Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Ethnohistory collection; a documentary assemblage made up of hundreds of primary and secondary documents pertaining to Native American occupancy of the region over three centuries. (It’s what I consider one of the laboratory’s greatest treasures.)

Image of archival boxes for the Great Lakes Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Collection
Boxes from the Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Collection. (Image by Bailey Foust)

I presented a short talk on these women at the Hoosier Women at Work in Science, Technology, and Medicine in April 2017.

In conjunction to the historical research I was conducting on these women, several coworkers and I utilized the GBL’s image collections to create a photography exhibition showcasing some of the women documented working at past field schools. The online photo exhibit was set up in March 2017.

Black and white image of Frances Martin crouched at Yankeetown site.
Frances Martin at Yankeetown, 1950. (ICO N3383)

We couldn’t just stop there, though.

While researching Ida, Frances, and Erminie, I noticed the lack of readily available information on Midwestern female archaeologists. I found published books about old world, classical female archaeologists (think Greek/Roman/Egyptian), some concerning Southeastern and Southwestern American female archaeologists, but very little concerning the Midwest… (See below for a short bibliography detailing these works.)

That, I thought, was a problem.

Luckily, others I work with thought it was a problem too. Leslie Drane, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at IU, and I coordinated a poster symposium for the 2017 Midwest Archaeological Conference held this past October in Indianapolis. We invited participants from the region to highlight notable women from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Iowa. If we couldn’t find published materials about Midwestern female archaeologists, we were going to write them ourselves!

Nine participants created beautiful, thoughtful posters that can now be viewed on an online poster gallery hosted on the MAC website.

This isn’t the end of our inquiry. Several of us would like to submit our biographies to journals or history magazines in order to broaden our audience. Perhaps some other bigs things are in the works too?! Our work is only just beginning…


A bibliography  of female archaeologists and resources
  • Adams, Amanda. (2010). Ladies of the field: early women archaeologists and their search for adventure. Vancouver: Greystone Books.
  • Allsebrook, M. Nesbit, & Allsebrook, A. (1992). Born to rebel : the life of Harriet Boyd Hawes. Oxford [England]: Oxbow Books .
  • Browman, David L. (2013). Cultural Negotiations: the role of women in the founding of American Archaeology. University of Nebraska Press.
  • Classen, Cheryl. (1994). Women in Archaeology. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Cohen, G. M., & Joukowsky, M. (2006). Breaking Ground: Pioneering Women Archaeologists. University of Michigan Press.
  • Gacs, Ute, et al. (1989). Women Anthropologists: selected biographies. University of Illinois Press.
  • Kehoe, Alice B. & Emmerichs, Mary Beth. (1999). Assembling the past: studies in the professionalization of archaeology. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
  • Nelson, M. Cecile, Nelson, S. M., & Wylie, A. (1994). Equity issues for women in archaeology. Arlington, VA: American Anthropological Association.
  • Wallach, Janet. (1996). Desert queen: the extraordinary life of Gertrude Bell: adventurer, advisor to kings, ally to Lawrence of Arabia. New York: Doubleday.
  • White, N. Marie, Sullivan, L. P, & Marrinan, R. A. (1999). Grit tempered : early women archaeologists in the southeastern United States. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
  • Zeder, Melinda A. (1997). The American archaeologist: a profile. Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press.

“We Cry for Pie”

November 13, 2017

by Lydia Lutz, Intern, ILS student

It seems like Thanksgiving will be here in the blink of an eye. Several thoughts may linger in your head this November: How hard should I really study for my finals? When should I start Christmas shopping? Can I bring out my winter wardrobe now? How can I participate in Native American Heritage Month? Probably the loudest thought is in regards to your Thanksgiving dinner: What will I eat?

Personally, one of my all-time favorite dishes at Thanksgiving were my Mamaw’s pies. She made the best pies (pumpkin, pecan, apple, cherry, coconut, etc.). Whilst pining for one of her pies, I came across an article about American food culture from 1866. The article is called “Concerning Restaurants,” and it appears in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 32.

The author of the article, C. W. Gesner, mainly wished to discuss the restaurant scene in New York during the year 1866. Before discussing the latest roast beef trend, however, Gesner proceeds to rant about the American diet, specifically pies. Here are some things the author had to say:

We cry for pie when we are infants. Pie in countless varieties, waits upon us through life. Pie kills us finally…How can a person with a pound of green apples and fat dough in his stomach feel at ease? (Gesner, 1866, p. 592).

Gesner also comments that Americans are “the most unwholesome feeders in the world” (p. 591). Naturally, it isn’t news that America’s obesity rates have only increased, and it also isn’t news that the stereotypical family has Thanksgiving dinners that encourage overeating. What is interesting is how the media makes this out to be a new trend in our society, but I digress.

It is not my intention to make a big deal about our society’s diet trends. I simply thought it a hilarious coincidence to find an article about how abhorrent pies are this close to Thanksgiving. I am not asking you to give up pies in any way, shape, or form. In fact, I hope that you are able to indulge in pie of your choosing this year, whether it be fruity, meaty, fatty, healthy, or even gluten-free…just don’t eat too much.

Resources
Gesner, C.W. (1866, April). Concerning Restaurants in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 32, 591-593. New York: Harper and Brothers.

Representation of Cats

November 1, 2017

by Lydia Lutz, Intern, ILS student

As a librarian it is often hard to resist bringing cats into my work, whether through the sharing of images or through speech. Sadly, I missed National Cat Day, which was on October 29th. Finally, a day when I could have droned on about cats shamelessly and I missed it. However, after finding an interesting book at the Glenn Black Lab, I have reason to discuss cats today.

Cover of bulletin displaying title
Cover of “The Domestic Cat” by Edward Howe Forbush (State Ornithologist) from The Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture – Economic Biology – Bulletin No. 2

It all started when I was perusing the stacks in the James H. Kellar Library. I found the usual suspects: books on archaeology, Native American art, and anthropology research. To my surprise, I found a book titled The Domestic Cat by Edward Howe Forbush.

The beginning pages contained pictures of happy kittens and cat-owner anecdotes. It was heavenly. There was even a relatable comment which suggested that cat owners should simply accept their fate as slaves of their felines and thus bring about peace and their affection (Forbush, 1916, p. 17).

Frontispiece showing cute kittens
Frontispiece: “The Innocents. (From ‘Our Dumb Animals.’) Thousands of kittens are abandoned yearly on country roads or in the woods. This is cruel and unlawful.”

However, the material soon turned dark.

Disturbing is not a word which can describe the black veil that fell over the following pages. The rest of the book depicted photographs of dead cats which had been strung up by their feet, stories of the insidious and evil cat breed, and statistics that revealed a prevalent dislike of cats (p. 20).

Illustration of a cat killing a bird
Illustration from page 53.

I understand that the main point of the book was to discuss how domestic cats affect other wildlife, specifically birds, but was it really necessary to produce such a cruel atmosphere?

After reading the small book I began to ponder how the image of the cat has changed in our society. How did we go from cats as relatively wild pets to commenting giddily on their “kitty beans?” When did “the cat” become “Mr. Snuggles?” Why is the majority of America glued to cat videos on YouTube? Is it because our economy has strengthened since the publication of this work in 1916? The presence of luxurious free time has certainly increased over the past 101 years. Animal rights laws have become more prominent and enforceable, as well. Perhaps it is a combination of all these aspects which has transformed the general population’s view of the purring, chunky balls of fluff. I honestly do not know the answers to these questions, but I am thankful that the reputation of the cat has evolved because I don’t know what I would do without mine.

Resources
Forbush, E. H. (1916). The Domestic Cat. Boston: Wright and Potter Printing Co., State Printers.

Pumpkin Carving Experiment

October 27, 2017

In preparation for Halloween, the GBL staff decided to conduct a little experiment: could we carve a pumpkin using traditional stone tools?

The Tools

Obviously we couldn’t use artifacts from our collection; that’s where the Education Collection comes in.  These are objects that either have poor documentation (sometimes called ‘orphan’ collections) or serve no real use, or which we ourselves made.

We used three specific tools.  Here they are with their ‘modern’ counterparts; that is, ones you can buy from a store in the pre-made pumpkin carving kits:

Two flake blades of differing lengths, and a thicker, flatter piece for scraping.

versus

Two blades and a serrated spoon (carving set from Williams-Sonoma)

And gloves:

The Process*

*Please don’t try this at home!

First, cut the top off.

This took us about 15 minutes and a good deal of elbow grease on the part of our Librarian, Kelsey Grimm.

Second, move on to scraping out the insides.

Collections Assistant Alex Elliott took on this project, and was done in just about ten minutes.

Third, draw on a face.

Fourth, cut out the design.  For this we used a sharper, longer flake, which was able to cut all the way through the walls of the pumpkin.

Fifth and finally is the most crucial step: name your pumpkin.

For obvious reasons, we named ours Glenn.

The Results

We ran into a little trouble getting a grip on the blades to use them, especially as they got progressively more slippery with the addition of the pumpkin guts.  But overall the experiment was a success!

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.

Creepy-Crawly Curation

October 4, 2017

Bugs: most people aren’t fans of them.  But you may not realize they actually play a role in the curation of museum collections.

At least identifying and dealing with them does.

It’s necessary for museum staff to know what threats are present in collections, so, once a year, a GBL staff member volunteers (or is volunteered) for the somewhat gruesome job of collecting bug traps and ID’ing the creepy crawlies inside.

This year, Collections Assistant Alex Elliott took on the project.

There were 14 traps set out throughout the collections in the GBL basement, put out on June 1, 2016, and replaced August 30, 2017.  There were a few different types of bugs found, which provided an opportunity to see to what extent bugs were posing a threat to the collections, and to learn what the bugs can tell us about the environments of our facility.

For example, some types of bugs are drawn to moisture, and others to dark, dry spaces.  Each requires a slightly different approach in treatment, and this acts as another source of information about issues like humidity inside the collections areas.

Take sprickets (also known as Cave Crickets): they are attracted to moisture, and the fact that they were found could mean there is a moisture problem in a particular area.  This discovery led Alex to recommend weather stripping for the garage door for a tighter preventative seal.

“I do think this is an important skill for anyone with collections to care for,” Alex said. “And, if nothing else, it was interesting to see online that most collecting institutions have similar pest problems!”

While it doesn’t seem like something you’d initially think about, the presence of bugs is something every museum and institution has to deal with.  And, as Alex pointed out, it’s a great learning experience.

Fall 2017 Project

September 27, 2017

by Logan Carte, Cox Scholar

I am currently working in the James H. Kellar Library on a project that consists of coding and cataloging the books into a digital database to make searching easier. This is my second year at the Glenn A. Black Lab and I have greatly enjoyed it. Everyone here is extremely friendly and it is a very comfortable, laid-back place to work. I love working on projects due to the sense of achievement that I feel once they are completed.

The digital software I have been using is called Oxygen, which allows me to input the metadata from each book in order to allow the information to be viewed online. I first begin by finding the book on a website called Librarything, which allows me to catalog the books online using their service. Once that has been done, I then move over to a second website hosted by the Library of Congress, where I am able to find more information about the book and then input that data into Oxygen. Our librarian, Kelsey, has shown me how to catalog the books by using the Library of Congress classification number, or LC classification for short. This number is then copied from the Library of Congress website and pasted into an Excel document, which is then printed off on a labeling sheet and each individual LC classification is put on the bottom of the spine of each book. Cataloging the books by LC classification has seemed to be not only the easiest way to find a particular book, but also the most effective. This is because books are grouped by their LC classification, meaning that if a person is interested in a particular subject, all of the books in that subject are arranged together to make the process of finding one much more efficient and straightforward.


My name is Logan Carte and I am currently a sophomore at Indiana University studying management with a minor in financial literacy. I began working at the GBL last fall to help fulfill my scholarship requirement by working 8-10 hours a week in the library. I have worked on a variety of tasks including coding and cataloging the books, cataloging the theses and dissertations, as well as analyzing data from different tribes. I have greatly enjoyed my work so far in the GBL and I’m looking forward to another great year!