Museum Anthropology

Dr. Chris Discussing Museum Displays

As we told the kids today, anthropology is like a great pair of glasses for seeing things about the world that are otherwise fuzzy. Today our intrepid anthropologists climbed out of their midden piles (that’s trash heap for you folks in the audience) to help clarify what they’re doing there in the first place. They are interpreting the cultural significance (hey, isn’t that a vocabulary word this week?) of these precious artifacts to help us understand the cultures of the peoples who left them behind. Since “culture” is shared, learned behavior, our young researchers analyzed the material remains to try to understand what behaviors the people who left it behind may have shared with each other and with us. What did they eat? Where did they live? What language(s) did they speak? How did THEY learn? And to help US understand what their anthropological lenses are revealing, our investigators are creating archaeological museum exhibits and educational talks that will interpret the stories their artifacts tell about the cultures that left them and maybe even re-enacting them for us! We are negotiating with the TMSE library curator to acquisition these valuable cultural exhibits for a showing in the library upon completion next week.

Telling a story from midden archaeology (i.e., what can garbage tell us about a culture?).

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