From the Desk of the Curator
Click here to read a message from Curator Melody Pope.
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.
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!
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)?!
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 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.
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!
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!