From the Desk of the IUMAA Director

Image of Mathers Museum and Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology exterior signs.
Image of Mathers Museum (left) and Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology (right) signs.

Thank you for being a part of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology community.

I am thrilled to begin my tenure as Executive Director of the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology with a note about our plans for this new museum. As you may have heard, the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology (GBL) is merging with the Mathers Museum of World Cultures (MMWC) to form the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (IUMAA) on the Bloomington campus. Much of my archaeological training occurred during my five years at the GBL, where I spent most of my time working with collections and conducting fieldwork. I am excited to return to work with those as well as the Mathers collections. Perhaps more importantly, I am happy to work with Director April Sievert and the passionate and dedicated museum staff and faculty professionals—who average more than 20 years of experience per person in areas such as museum administration, outreach and education, curation, exhibit planning and design, material culture analysis, and ethnographic and anthropological research.

As a university museum and laboratory at a research one institution, the IUMAA will focus on the creation, dissemination, and curation of cultural knowledge. Continuing in the tradition of the MMWC and the GBL, the museum will foster education at all levels through collections-based teaching, exhibits, and research focused on our extensive and rich ethnographic and archaeological collections from around the world – including from the unique Angel Mounds Site, our largest collection. We intend our collaborative efforts to include work with many IU departments, professors, students, teachers, K-12 students, and the general public. Traditional Arts Indiana will help us engage with people enmeshed in the creative processes currently being documented in Indiana today.
The IUMAA will also work with indigenous communities and engage with tradition bearers to bring their perspectives to Indiana audiences. We hope to collaborate with Native American tribes that were once present in Indiana to help bring their viewpoints to our audiences. My own research and teaching has involved collaborations with indigenous communities including the Maasai and Chagga tribes in Tanzania, Africa as well as projects with the Crow, Salish, and Kootenai in Wyoming and Montana, and I have always found these collaborations to be some of the most rewarding and important aspects of my work.

The two centers, which are currently housed in separate but adjoining buildings, are slated for necessary renovations starting next summer. Indiana University President Michael McRobbie has secured over $10 million for renovations, and additional funds from generous donors have helped support expanded and updated exhibits. Renovations will be extensive, incorporating replacement and modernization of mechanical and other infrastructure through the installation of new HVAC systems, electrical upgrades, and other improvements that will make our facility better for visitors, students, researchers, and employees. The GBL and MMWC will close in May 2020, renovations will be completed in the fall of 2021, and the new museum will open in the spring of 2022. We look forward to new teaching spaces, lab spaces, artifact study areas, compact shelving in curation areas, expanded exhibit space, and extensive technological additions that will facilitate our teaching and learning missions.

I am grateful to those who have warmly supported my arrival and the staff, faculty, and students who have welcomed me.

Ed Herrmann, IUMAA Director

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From the Desk of the Director

If you read new Executive Director Ed Herrmann’s piece on the merger and upcoming renovations, you might imagine the magnitude of the change is in store for the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology and our sister organization, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. The GBL opened in 1971, and now nears 50 years in age, so renovations are long overdue. If you’ve ever been in the Angel Repository, you know just how little room we actually have to work in, so I welcome the opportunity to update mechanicals, rethink spaces, and gain areas in which to work through more efficient storage and collaborative space development. From my perspective, this change provides an opportunity to think and build toward a future that serves and engages the campus, the region, and the world in new ways. As we work together I stand in awe of the staff of the Mathers Museum, without whose collegiality, imagination, and professionalism keeps me optimistic in light of mountains of work to do. When we re-open, I imagine a Glenn Black Laboratory of Archaeology, which will continue as a lab within the new complex, enhanced with new space for working, accessible and re-thought storage for comparative collections, capacity for distance education and collaboration, and new technologies.

We started off the semester with the Campus Archaeology Symposium, held in conjunction with the Wylie House Museum, and co-directed by Carey Champion and Liz Watts Malouchos. The symposium was supported by a grant from the IU Bicentennial, and allowed us to gather speakers from around Indiana in discussions of archaeology done on college campuses. IU has a rich history hidden beneath the surface, and our Wylie house project engaged students and recovered historic information related to IU’s early faculty.

In October the GBL helped support the Plains Anthropological Conference which came to Bloomington for the first time. I got to help lead a group of conferees to Angel Mounds, along with Melody and Amanda Burtt. If there is one thing that I’ve learned about archaeologists, it’s that if you take them to a site, forget the tour—they will scatter like autumn leaves.

In addition, we hosted talk by Dr. Jonathan Reyman, formerly of the Illinois State Museum, who told us about his long-term project to distribute legally-acquired molted feathers to members of tribes in the Southwest, including many Pueblo communities for use. We hosted multiple classes who used the gallery exhibits, and received tours or targeted talks. In all, it’s been a very exciting and busy semester, and the pace is not likely to change any time soon!

April K. Sievert's signature

April K. Sievert, GBL Director

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From the Desk of the Curator

Three images in banner: students working on rehousing artifacts, Curating Angel banner and event, rehoused boxes.

The Curating Angel Rehousing Project, funded through the FY2018 Save America’s Treasures grant program monitored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and National Park Service, began in earnest during the summer and continued into the fall with a team of between 10 and 15 students and staff. At this writing the curating Angel Team, led by Assistant Curator and anthropology graduate student Amanda Burtt, have rehoused 440 boxes of Angel faunal material. The rehousing project will preserve the collection and make it more accessible to researchers, and it is generating new research directions as we “re-excavate” the site through the rehousing process. Nearly every day we learn something new about the history, preservation and research potential of the legacy Angel collections. We have also started to compile zooarchaeology and bone tool comparative collections as part of the rehousing process. Over the summer and fall we got the word out about the rehousing project. In August, April Sievert, and Amanda Burtt took the Curating Angel project on the road to Angel Mounds as part of the sites birthday celebration. Sievert and Pope presented a paper on Curating Angel at the 63rd Annual Midwest Archaeological Conference, and Amanda Burtt organized a poster symposium, “Rediscovering Angel Mounds” for the 77th Annual Plains Anthropological Conference held in Bloomington, which included posters by 11 crew and staff involved with the project. This fall also marked a huge milestone for IU GBL collections. We have deposited 324 rehoused boxes of Angel Mounds collection materials into the new ALF3 repository! Before the end of the year that number will grow substantially!

Over the summer and fall, the archaeology collections received donations to our education collection from Cheryl Munson. We also received a transfer from the DNR Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology of the Wea Village Collection derived from three IUPUI field schools (1986-1988) directed by Rick Jones (former state archaeologist) and Neal Turbowitz. In addition to housing archaeological collections for the state of Indiana. The GBL is also a repository for federal archaeological collections. Over the summer and fall, two USDA Hoosier National Forest collections were transferred to the lab for curation. The curation staff also assisted 24 researchers with access to the collections and provided content for two exhibits, the IU Mobile Museum and the 800 Seasons: Change and Continuity in Bloomington, 1818-2018 exhibit, curated by Eric Sandweiss at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

On the research front, Pope presented findings from a microwear study she conducted on stone tools from several Central Plains sites at the 77th Annual Plains Anthropological Conference, and will follow this with a submission for publication to the journal Plains Anthropologist. Pope also conducted an assessment and pilot microwear study on a sample of end scrapers from the Mulvey Collection, site 12T4. This collection has great potential to inform on the protohistoric and early historic Wea/Miami trade in hides centered on the Middle Wabash valley. Research on the Black-era excavations at Angel Mounds is ongoing, oriented toward developing a collections-based research project focused on Mississippian house trajectories. Plans are also underway to begin research on the Angel type collections. Finally, Pope launched a project this fall to address the organizational structure of the GBL archaeological collections. One outcome of the collections structure project will be a collections-based publication, Indiana Archaeology through the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology Collections, which will aid future research and research-based exhibits that will enhance and support the newly envisioned IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Melody Pope's signature

Melody Pope, Curator of Collections

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From the Desk of the Curator

From the desk of the curator

April 25, 2019

This winter and spring saw a flurry of activity on the lower level of the lab, including several upgrades to accommodate the work we will be doing to rehouse the Angel Mounds collections. With support from the Provost’s Office and the Office of the Vice President for Research, new electrical circuits were installed and a new air scrubber and additional dehumidifiers were purchased.  Rehousing the Angel Mounds Collection and moving the collections to ALF3 will be the focus of much of our work over the next three years.  The curation team has been doing extensive background research to understand how the collection was organized, assembling documents to aid in rehousing, building out databases, purchasing supplies, and conducting pilot rehousing test runs to develop work flows.  Collections assistant and Underwater Archaeology student Amanda Pavot has been writing blog posts on the pre-project work for a museum practicum project. You can find Amanda’s posts at The Dirt, the GBL’s blog. Blogs on the Rehousing Angel Mounds Project will continue over the duration of the project, so be sure to follow the project on our website and social media. Over the winter, the curation staff also processed three loans to IUPUI, two in partnership with Hoosier National Forest.  Researchers and students affiliated with IUPUI will work on collections to complete reports for the 2013 Angel Mounds field school, a pioneer homestead on HNF land, and will complete work on parts of the Rock House Hollow collection for a HNF NAGPRA request.

The GBL collections staff participated in several educational events and outreach activities. Professor Susan Alt’s Midwest Archaeology students were able to work with four collections over the course of the semester for hands-on-learning.  We also provided artifacts, images and consulting for the Indiana Historical Society exhibit, You Are There, 1939 Excavating Angel Mounds exhibit that opened in March 2019. Various staff members participated in the 2019 IU Powwow, Lotus Blossoms, and School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering Internship Fair; and conducted tours of our facility for Anthropology, SPEA, and Underwater Archaeology program classes.

Members of GBL staff with visiting educators Scott Bauserman and Rick Doss

Scott Bauserman, with the Westlane Middle School in Indianapolis, brought down a large artifact collection owned by the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township.  Our staff provided assistance to rebox the collections for its safe transport back to Indianapolis. 

I used the Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Archives personal papers of Glenn Black and Eli Lilly to research the early archaeology of Glenn Black and Eli Lilly at Angel Mounds for a paper presented at the 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.  You can access information about the symposia presentations here.

Melody Pope, Curator


The Angel Rehousing project is made possible in part by the support of
the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In September 2018, the GBL received 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 IMLS.

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. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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From the Desk of the Director

From the desk of the director

April 25, 2019

Panorama of display area in the new Shawnee Tribe Cultural Center
Jayne-Leigh Thomas

Early 2019 brought a trip to Miami, Oklahoma, with Dr. Jayne-Leigh Thomas, Director of IU’s Office of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). We attended the Miami Winter Gathering and enjoyed the hospitality and fabulous food that the Miami provide, heard their winter stories, and got to do some stomp dance.

Ben Barnes and Ft. Ancient pottery

We also visited the sparkling-new Shawnee Tribe Cultural Center, and were greeted and shown around by Ben Barnes, Second Chief. The current exhibits feature displays of pottery from the Ohio Valley and chronicle the Shawnee’s journey to recapture ceramic art, based on archaeological prototypes. The have a slick interactive display that allows the visitor to look at different sherds under a microscope, and display the image of clay paste and temper on a large screen for comparing different pottery construction techniques. I was covetous.

Spring 2019 also saw additions to the community of scholars working on Angel Mounds projects. The office of the Vice President for Research has commenced a new project to add capacity for researching, preserving, interpreting, and promoting Angel Mounds deposits and collections. The project, or Angel Mounds Initiative (AMI), allies and aligns with work done through GBL, and through IU’s Office of NAGPRA.

Ed Herrmann

Dr. Ed Herrmann, of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, directs these special projects. He has several years of experience working at Angel Mounds and other Midwestern sites, with expertise in geoarchaeology, remote sensing, and environmental reconstruction in Indiana and far abroad.

Christina Friberg

We also welcome Dr. Christina Friberg, who has joined the AMI as a post-doctoral scholar, having finished her doctoral work on Mississippian lifeways in the greater Cahokia region at University of California-Santa Barbara. Drs. Ed and Christina are working to aggregate all the data generated for Angel Mounds through the decades (a monumental task), build maps using GIS, coordinate the completion of technical reports, and assist where possible with curation efforts.

This all has made the GBL a very exciting and happening place, with repatriation, curation, and dissemination work all going on simultaneously, with Angel Mounds at the center.

April Sievert, Director

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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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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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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

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