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Cultural Anthropology

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Front cover depicts, on yellow ground, an image of a Native American woman grooming a Native American child in an elliptical dark green border. Surrounding the image is the title "CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY," printed in dark green. Below the title is the phrase, "THIRD EDITION," followed by the name of the author, "Marvin Harris." Printed at the top of the spine is the author's last name followed by the title and "3E." At the bottom of the spine is the Harper Collins colophon. Printed on the back cover is a summary of the book followed by information on the author. Dispersed through the book cover are small orange anthropological symbols.

Arts and Cultural Anthropology Exhibit, Smithsonian Institution Building

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Original negative number is 41328.

Arts and Cultural Anthropology Exhibit in the Smithsonian Castle. There is a large display case in the foreground, paintings are hung along the exhibit walls, and the windows of the Castle can be seen behind the exhibit space.

Archeologists Work with Artifacts from Division of Cultural Anthropology

Smithsonian Institution Archives
Digital contact sheet available.

Frame selections featured in "The Torch," July 1965.

Visiting archeologists from the Hemisphere Republics, Father Pedro Porras and Silvia Maranca, work with artifacts from the Division of Cultural Anthropology at the Museum of Natural History.

Anthropology Exhibit, Khmer Culture, National Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
"Cambodia: The Khmer Culture" exhibit in the "Pacific and Asian Cultures" exhibit in the National Museum of Natural History. The case contains various tools and baskets. The exhibit opened in 1962.

Anthropology Teaching Activities: Church Ethnographies

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Activity encourages students to examine religious institutions as the total integration of culture that is valuable to anthropologists. Students do participant observation and write an ethnography.

Department of Anthropology: Anthropology Conservation Laboratory

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
The laboratory gives professional care to collections; prepares collections for exhibit and loan; and implements preventive conservation projects. Describes the scope of work, recent projects, and biographies of staff.

Anthropology Explored: Teacher's Guide

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
This teacher's guide accompanies Anthropology Explored, a collection of 36 essays written in an easy-to-read style by some of the world's leading anthropologists. The chapters trace the emergence of humans, discuss early settlements, and explore the diversity of past and present cultures. Includes chapter summaries, discussion questions, essay questions, and a glossary.

Cultural Logo Design

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Lesson about identity, culture, and symbols in which students learn to recognize prevalent cultural and commercial symbols. After discussing how these symbols have an impact on their lives, their consumer impulses, and their perceptions, students design a logo to represent personal identity.

Anthropology: Summer Fieldwork Opportunities

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Leaflet suggesting ways in which teachers, students, and the general public can become personally involved in the field of anthropology through field schools and research organizations.

Anthropology Teacher Resources

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
A list of free teacher resources put out by the NMNH Department of Anthropology. Includes issues of Anthronotes (publication for educators), leaflets, bibliographies, and teacher packets on a variety of topics within anthropology.

Anthropology Teaching Activities: Ethical Dilemmas

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Group discussion activity intended to introduce or conclude a unit on social change, culture conflict, technology, or anthropological theory and method. Includes case studies for students to discuss and references for further reading.

Cross-Cultural Conversations at the Folklife Festival

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
wo basket weavers, Ofelia Marín Márquez from Colombia’s coffee region, and Mele Vaikeli from Tonga, exchange techniques at the 2011 Folklife Festival. Photo by Sojin Kim
wo basket weavers, Ofelia Marín Márquez from Colombia’s coffee region, and Mele Vaikeli from Tonga, exchange techniques at the 2011 Folklife Festival.
Photo by Sojin Kim

The Folklife Festival has three fantastically diverse programs lined up this year: Hungarian Heritage; One World, Many Voices; and The Will to Adorn. For most of the Festival, each program group will occupy a separate section of the National Mall to share traditions and performances. But the multi-cultural nature of the Festival provides the irresistible opportunity to also explore some intersections among these groups.

This is the motivation behind “cross programs” at the Folklife Festival. These daily events (which will move around the different program stages and are marked “Cross Program” on the Festival schedule) will bring together one or two representatives from each program for a conversation about a common topic. For example: expert weavers from Bolivia, Hungary, and Ghana will compare their traditions and techniques; hairstylists will demonstrate techniques ranging from African-American dreadlocks and braids to traditional Palenque styles from Colombia; and musicians from China, The Republic of Tuva, and Hungary will discuss the relationship between their music and the natural world. Other cross program topics will include: language and identity, wedding ceremonies, clothing design, celebration traditions, and hat making.

This is an exceptional opportunity for both the participants and the public. It is a chance for visitors to hear cross-cultural panels of experts from many fields and to see the diversity of cultures represented at the Folklife Festival at one time in one place. It will also allow speakers the opportunity to share techniques and experiences with other experts in their field. With the aid of multilingual translators, dress and hair models, and handcrafted visual display items, all parties involved will hopefully gain a deeper appreciation for the enormous variety of traditions across human cultures. We hope that visitors, too, will be inspired to explore their own cultural traditions and their connections to the world around them.

Morgan Anderson recently graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology. She is an intern with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, assisting with the One World, Many Voices: Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage program.

Teaching and Learning Anthropology

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Resources for teachers from the Department of Anthropology. For general anthropology, specific areas, and Native American anthropology. Includes online bibliographies, contact information, teaching activities, and publications and products for purchase.

Department of Anthropology: Archaeology, Ethnology, and Physical Anthropology Collections

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Homepage for the archaeology, ethnology, and physical anthropology collections of the Department of Anthropology. Searchable online database includes 97 percent of the cataloged specimens that are currently in the Ethnology and Archaeology collections. New records are added as specimens are cataloged. Includes information on how to order photographs of items in the collection.

Anthropology Teaching Activities: Fieldwork in the Classroom

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Interview project matching anthropology students with ESL students to conduct field interviews. Could be used as an investigative tool for any facet of cultural anthropology.

Anthropology on the Internet for K-12

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Select list of annotated resources online for students and educators interested in the field of anthropology. Organized by sub-field ie: cultural anthropology, archaeology, area studies, etc.

Anthropology Hall, USNM

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
See 1930s image, neg. #27069, for a close-up of the front exhibit case of just the diorama of the Samoan Indian group.

This print is reproduced in USNM Bulletin 80, Plate 19, following page 114. There are many other photographs of the National Museum of Natural History in this location, as well as throughout RU79, Box 9.

A sepia image is available under Neg. #SIA2009-2193.

Anthropology Hall in the new United States National Museum, now the National Museum of Natural History. The Anthropology Hall contains many exhibit cases with artifacts in them. The front exhibit case, which was part of the Polynesian ethnology exhibit, shows a life group of indigenous people of the Samoan Indian group with native artifacts.

Department of Anthropology Outreach

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Webpage for the Anthropology Outreach Office, which promotes understanding of the field of anthropology and the research conducted in the Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology. Lists publications and teacher's packets on a variety of anthropological topics. All materials are free of charge.

Anthropology on the Internet for K-12

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
List of web sites with a brief annotation that are valuable to teachers and students interested in the field of anthropology. Sections include - general sources, career information, archaeology, social/cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, linguistics, area studies, museums, virtual exhibits, and electronic publications.

Anthropology Exhibit, Snake Dance

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
An exhibition of the Hopi Snake Dancers of Arizona. This life group contains nine dancers. The exhibit is part of the Anthropology Exhibit in the United States National Museum, now known as the National Museum of Natural History.

Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage - Explore Culture

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
The education page of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Access education kits, curriculum materials, videos, and recordings for classroom and other educational uses.

Connecting Communities through Cultural Exchange

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
Dora Flor Alba Briceño, photo by Gina Watkinson
Dora Flor Alba Briceño
Photo by Gina Watkinson

As a participant in the Smithsonian’s Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology (SIMA), I was invited to be a volunteer in the Folklife Festival to learn about basketry techniques, as well as to engage with the presenting artists and Festival  visitors. I spent my day with Dora Flor Alba Briceño, a basket weaver from the Andean Highlands of Colombia. She makes baskets from a material called junco that grows rapidly in Lake Fúquene. She learned basket weaving from her grandmother, which she has passed down to her children and grandchildren. Dora Flor is recognized for her fine work and has won many awards.

At the Festival, Dora showed one of her spectacular pieces through photographs that she had brought with her from Colombia. The photograph depicted a large basket, at least ten feet in height, which was commissioned for a parade in her community. Many of the Festival visitors were astonished and gained a better appreciation for her skill and talent as a weaver. During my time with Dora, she produced three baskets and hundreds of visitors, of varied ages and knowledge of Colombia, were engaged by her nimble hands and her wonderful smile. Dora invited children to participate by showing them the knots and letting them have a go for themselves. A few visitors even chose to stick around for her to complete a large flower vase.

Dora Flor Alba Briceño working on a basket
Photo by Gina Watkinson

Not only did I learn a lot from Dora Flor, but I also learned from the visitors that stopped by. Many of the Spanish speakers that visited the Folklife Festival were gracious enough to translate Dora’s words for the non-Spanish-speaking visitors. Several, who acknowledged Colombia as their original home, talked about the places where they had lived, the diverse cultures that reside within the region, and the current sociopolitical climate. The Festival atmosphere facilitated conversations and cultural exchanges that enabled rich dialogue among the groups of visitors and artists. I have no doubt that these interactions with the Colombian participants, whether through viewing the productions of art, participating in traditional games, or engaging in conversations, generated new perceptions of Colombia and the world we live in.

After a long day and a sore throat from many conversations, I left the Festival not only with a new understanding of Colombia and the unique cultural traditions of the people that live there,  but also with a new appreciation for innovative ways of learning and connecting with others.

Gina Watkinson is a graduate student in the American Indian studies program at the University of Arizona. She is among 12 students who assisted Festival artists as part of the Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology (SIMA), a program offered by the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Joseph Brown in Anthropology Laboratory

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Featured in TORCH, November 1982

Museum Specialist Joseph Brown in the National Museum of Natural History Anthropology Processing Laboratory sitting behind a table full of skulls, October 1, 1982.
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