News for Wednesday, May 31, 2017

School for Advanced Research Celebrates 110 Years

Stocking the shelves at the newly completed Indian Arts Research Center building, 1978Stocking the shelves at the newly completed Indian Arts Research Center building, 1978Stocking the shelves at the newly completed Indian Arts Research Center building, 1978

Deep Roots in the Southwest Have Global Impact

Santa Fe, NM – This year, School for Advanced Research celebrates its 110th year. Since its founding in 1907, SAR has played an important role in promoting the professionalization of anthropology and the recognition of Southwestern Native American arts and artists. It has also fostered discussion of globally important topics like population migration, and lead efforts among the museum community to encourage collaboration with indigenous peoples for the preservation and repatriation of cultural objects.

In 110 years, SAR has gone by several names, starting with the School of American Archaeology. In 1917, the School of American Archaeology changed its name to the School of American Research to reflect the broader scope of its mission, which at the time was “to promote and carry on research in Archaeology and related branches of the Science of Man; to foster Art in all its branches through exhibitions and by other means...” In 2007, in conjunction with the 100th anniversary, the name changed to the School for Advanced Research to encompass the global reach of its support for scholarship in the social sciences and humanities.

“Today SAR provides a platform for wide-ranging scholarly research and lectures on prehistory, contemporary social issues like immigration, and the creativity of Native American artists. Although our roots are in Northern New Mexico and include some of the most significant archaeological digs in the Southwest in the twentieth century like Bandelier, Chaco Canyon, and Mesa Verde, among others, today’s resident scholars and seminar participants pursue important questions on every inhabited continent,” says SAR President Michael J. Brown. “Since we began offering fellowships in 1972, we have funded the work of more than 350 SAR scholars and artists from around the globe, among whose ranks are six MacArthur Fellows and eighteen Guggenheim Fellows.”

The SAR campus has been located on Santa Fe’s east side in some of the city’s most historically significant adobe buildings since 1972, when Elizabeth White donated “El Delirio” to the organization. The property had been the home of White and her sister Martha Root White, wealthy New York business women, and a popular gathering place for Santa Fe artists, writers, and intellectuals. No one leaves the campus, where tours are offered twice a week June through September and weekly during the rest of the year, without learning something new about Santa Fe’s quirky and colorful history. In fact, SAR played a seminal role in the founding of the world-renowned Museum of New Mexico, and the internationally acclaimed Santa Fe Indian Market.

For much of the year, SAR offers regular public talks and panel discussions by its resident scholars, artists, and experts on Native American arts. The SAR website offers free video and audio archives of these events, too. Regular field trips for members explore not only the art, anthropology and archaeology of the American Southwest, but also far flung locales like Cuba, Australia, and Turkey, led by scholars and experts in their fields.

SAR’s Indian Arts Research Center (IARC) is home to an astonishing collection of over 12,000 pieces of Native American art from the sixth century to the present. The collection is also available for tours. The goal of IARC is to bridge the divide between creativity and scholarship by supporting initiatives, projects, seminars and symposia in Native studies, art history, and creative expression that illuminate the intersections of the social sciences, humanities, and arts. In 2016, in partnership with many museums throughout the country, including the National Museum of the American Indian, the IARC launched “Guidelines for Collaboration,” an online resource for tribal communities and museums.

The SAR Press, established shortly after the institution’s founding, produces and disseminates high quality content on important topics in anthropology, indigenous arts, and the American Southwest, continuing a long and distinguished publishing history in anthropology. The first publications for SAR were written by founder Edgar Lee Hewett and Sylvanus Griswold Morley in 1908. Since that auspicious beginning, more than 700 titles have been published, some creating seismic shifts in anthropological thinking.

As part of its mission to promote excellent scholarship and effective communication in the social sciences and humanities, SAR offers two competitive awards. The J. I. Staley Prize, often called the “Pulitzer Prize of anthropology,” annually recognizes a book that represents the best writing and scholarship in anthropology. SAR presents the Linda S. Cordell Prize to a living author for a book in archaeology or anthropological archaeology that best exemplifies excellence in writing and significantly advances archaeological method, theory, or interpretation.

For more information, including a timeline of significant events in the history of SAR, and photographs, visit

To celebrate it’s 110th year, SAR will be presenting a special public event on Saturday, June 24, from 12-5 pm, “What’s Your Treasure Worth?” Throughout its entire history, SAR has been a careful steward of treasures from the Southwest and beyond. Now, participants can have their own treasures evaluated by Wes Cowan and his team from Cincinnati. The program will take place in the Eric S. Dobkin Boardroom, School for Advanced Research, 660 Garcia Street (12-1 pm is the VIP hour reserved for $250 ticket holders). This event is open to the public and includes a verbal estimate for up to three items, that can be carried by hand, for $25 per person (all proceeds benefit the programs at SAR).

Popularly known as a mainstay of the PBS program History Detectives and a featured guest appraiser on Antiques Roadshow, Cowan and his skilled team will provide a verbal estimate of value of your treasures. Bring your pieces—including American Indian art, fine and decorative art, autographs and manuscripts, books, maps, and other historical items, as well as fine jewelry and time pieces (no stamps, firearms, coins, or large pieces of furniture please).

Wes Cowan owns Cowan’s Auctions, Inc., of Cincinnati, Ohio, one of the leading auction houses in the country. Cowan’s has been named by Blouin Art Info as one of the top 150 auction houses in the world.

Time-block preregistrations are required and are first-come, first-served. Visit this link to register:

At the same time, 12-5 pm, SAR will be holding a tent sale of discounted books of popular titles published by SAR Press. Self-guided tours of SAR’s historic campus will give visitors a glimpse into Santa Fe’s past by experiencing the glorious 1920s estate. The book sale and informal tours are free and open to the public.

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