In­dian preser­va­tion

Mu­seum Stud­ies

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS - Michael Abatemarco

Mu­seum stud­ies

IAIA OF­FERED its stu­dents cour­ses in mu­seum stud­ies even when it was still a high school, be­fore be­com­ing an ac­cred­ited two-year col­lege in 1975. Af­ter the changeover, the in­sti­tute be­gan of­fer­ing as­so­ci­ate of fine arts de­grees in the pro­gram. To­day, stu­dents can earn a bach­e­lors de­gree in mu­seum stud­ies, and the de­part­ment has be­tween 30 and 50 stu­dents at any given time. “A mu­seum stud­ies pro­gram was part of the orig­i­nal plan en­vi­sioned by Lloyd Kiva New,” IAIA ed­u­ca­tor Lara Evans told

Pasatiempo. “We’re ex­am­in­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties of do­ing an in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary masters de­gree pro­gram with com­bined el­e­ments of mu­seum stud­ies and in­dige­nous lib­eral stud­ies.” Evans teaches art his­tory cour­ses — a de­gree re­quire­ment — to mu­seum stud­ies ma­jors, as well as chair­ing the de­part­ment. “It’s a ro­tat­ing po­si­tion be­tween dif­fer­ent fac­ulty that changes ev­ery few years,” she said. “It’s just re­cently that we went to three fac­ulty mem­bers in­stead of two, and it’s a lit­tle eas­ier to ro­tate out with three peo­ple.”

Stu­dents be­gin with in­tro­duc­tory cour­ses that in­clude, among other as­pects of muse­ol­ogy, the his­tory of repa­tri­a­tion, a ma­jor is­sue, par­tic­u­larly re­gard­ing in­dige­nous ob­jects in mu­seum col­lec­tions. Na­tive ar­ti­facts, in­clud­ing sa­cred ob­jects and hu­man re­mains, were of­ten ob­tained by du­bi­ous means be­fore eth­i­cal col­lec­tion prac­tices were put into place to pre­vent abuses. “It’s look­ing at is­sues of who owns what, why, and how, and ex­am­in­ing the his­tory of the Na­tive Amer­i­can Graves Pro­tec­tion and Repa­tri­a­tion Act,” Evans said. The act, of­ten short­ened to NAGPRA, was en­acted by Congress in 1990, two years be­fore the Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Na­tive Arts was es­tab­lished down­town. “Stu­dents also get an in­tro­duc­tion to cu­ra­tion and the ethics of work­ing within your own com­mu­nity. There’s also an in­tro­duc­tion to col­lec­tions care, which teaches stu­dents about how to care for cul­tural prop­erty. By ‘care’ I mean work­ing in ways that are con­sis­tent with cul­tural prac­tices in ad­di­tion to mu­seum prac­tices. It’s tak­ing care of ob­jects not just phys­i­cally but spir­i­tu­ally.”

Stu­dents get to work first­hand with ob­jects of art. To fa­cil­i­tate re­search and ed­u­ca­tion, IAIA, which houses its mu­seum’s hold­ings on-site, also main­tains a small teach­ing col­lec­tion. A stroll through the cam­pus build­ings and grounds is the way to ex­pe­ri­ence the cam­pus art col­lec­tion, be­cause that’s where the items are on pub­lic dis­play.

In a given se­mes­ter, staff from MoCNA teach cour­ses on cam­pus, too. “We also have a course in mu­seum ed­u­ca­tion and pub­lic aware­ness. We’ve had our stu­dents work on ed­u­ca­tional projects as­so­ci­ated with ex­hi­bi­tions and we also re­quire stu­dents to do two in­tern­ships,” Evans said. “We’ve had a num­ber of stu­dents do their in­tern­ships ei­ther here, work­ing with the col­lec­tion on cam­pus, or at the mu­seum do­ing in­stal­la­tions of ex­hibits.”

IAIA stu­dents also have op­por­tu­ni­ties to par­tic­i­pate in work­shops with vis­it­ing artists. MoCNA main­tains a 400-square-foot stu­dio for use by vis­it­ing artists in its So­cial En­gage­ment Res­i­dency, and IAIA has stu­dio space and liv­ing quar­ters avail­able on cam­pus for artists in a res­i­dency pro­gram that be­gins this fall. Two artists par­tic­i­pate at a time in IAIA’s res­i­dency, which is man­aged by Evans. The res­i­dent artists work for a month on in­di­vid­ual projects and are ex­pected to do work­shops with stu­dents and take part in open­ing and clos­ing re­cep­tions at the be­gin­ning and end of their res­i­den­cies. Dur­ing the clos­ing re­cep­tions, the artists give pub­lic pre­sen­ta­tions on their work.

The start of the fall se­mes­ter brings Glenda McKay (In­ga­lik-Athabas­can) and Jonathan Loretto (Co­chitíJe­mez). In Oc­to­ber comes Santa Fe-based artist Ed Archie NoiseCat (Shuswap/St’itLimx, Sal­ish) and Dyani White Hawk (Si­cangu Lakota). The artists com­ing in Novem­ber are Ger­ald Clarke Jr. (Cahuilla) and James Luna (Pooyuk­itchum, Ipi, and Mex­i­canAmer­i­can). “Ger­ald and James know each other,” Evans said. “Their reser­va­tions are quite close to one another. We’ve ar­ranged for the two of them to speak as part of SFAI 140.” SFAI 140 is an on­go­ing se­ries of short talks spon­sored by the Santa Fe Art In­sti­tute. Luna will also en­gage in work­shops with stu­dents in ad­vance of a De­cem­ber sym­po­sium on in­dige­nous per­for­mance art in which he par­tic­i­pates. These six artists are the in­au­gu­ral group of the pro­gram which, ac­cord­ing to Evans, will take on a to­tal of 28 artists over the next three years.

Top, from left, stu­dent Sa­man­tha Tracy (Navajo) work­ing in IAIA’s photo stu­dio; stu­dents Duhon James (Navajo) and Tracy in­stalling art in IAIA’s Lloyd Kiva New Wel­come Cen­ter; be­low, Prof. Jessie Ryker-Craw­ford (White Earth Anishi­naabe); pho­tos Ja­son S. Or­daz

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