Lighting a Pathway: Community + Museum Guidelines for Collaboration
Moderator: Jim Enote, A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center; Panelists: Kelly McHugh, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian; Ellen Pearlstein, University of California, Los Angeles; Landis Smith, Projects Conservator, Museums of New Mexico
IARC Speaker Series, Eric S. Dobkin Boardroom, School for Advanced Research, 660 Garcia Street, Santa Fe
Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 6:00 pm, Admission is free.
Museums and Native American communities are increasingly engaging in collaborative work, both at the museum and in community-based initiatives. From arts revitalization to the documentation of collections, museum staff and community members are sharing expertise and perspectives, and creating a new movement in the field of museology. In response to a growing interest in this work, an online resource for collaborative work has been developed over a three-year period of critical discourse among museum professionals, cultural leaders, artists, and scholars. This discussion explores the guidelines’ development process, plans for expanding the online resource, and its collective impact.
Jim Enote, Zuni farmer and interrupted artist, has explored to a large degree such varied subjects as cultural pattern languages, Zuni architecture as fluxus art, Japanese art after 1945, and map art of indigenous peoples. Born in Zuni, New Mexico, Enote considers his career an odyssey of hitchhiking, watermelon picking, writing, and advocacy for indigenous peoples. Besides currently serving as Director of the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center, he is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Grand Canyon Trust, a Senior Advisor for Mountain Cultures at the Mountain Institute, a New Mexico Community Luminaria, an E.F. Shumacher Society Fellow, and Board Member of the Jessie Smith Noyse Foundation. In 2010, Enote was awarded the Michael M. Ames Prize for Innovative Museum Anthropology. He is now camped out at his work-in-progress home in Zuni.
Kelly McHugh is an objects conservator at the National Museum of the American Indian. She began working for the museum in 1996 in New York, based at the museum’s former storage facility in the Bronx. There she participated in a survey of the over 800,000 objects in NMAI’s collection, prior to the collections move to the Cultural Resources Center in Maryland. Caring for NMAI’s collection provides the opportunity for a range of responsibilities including, preparing collection items for exhibition, caring for the contemporary art collection, working to evolve the conservation department’s collaborative conservation methodology, and researching materials from gut-skin to glass beads. Kelly received her MA Art History with a Certificate in Conservation from New York University, Institute of Fine Arts and her BA in Art History and Peace and Global Policy Studies again from New York University.
Ellen Pearlstein is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and is a founding faculty member in the UCLA/Getty Program in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation where she teaches conservation of polychrome wood and all organic materials. Before that, Ellen was at the Brooklyn Museum from 1983 until 2005, when she held the title of Senior Objects Conservator. Her research interests include American Indian tribal artifacts and museums and how museum staff defines cultural preservation; effects of environmental agents on ethnographic and natural history materials; introducing context into cultural materials’ conservation education; and curriculum development. She was co-director of a three year conservation project involving Coastal Salish Story Poles at the Hibulb Cultural Center at the Tulalip Reservation in Washington, and of the UCLA and Getty Conservation Institute feather research project, and is now directing a conservation project of American Indian collections at the Yosemite Museum. Ellen is a Fellow of the AIC and winner of the prestigious Keck Award.
Landis Smith is Projects Conservator at the Museums of New Mexico Conservation Unit, working primarily with the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. She is also Collaborative Conservation Programs Consultant at the Indian Arts Research Center at the School for Advanced Research, and Research Associate at the National Museum of the American Indian. Landis was previously Anchorage Project Conservator at the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, National Museum of Natural History and Conservator in the Department of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History, NY.
Since 1988, much of Landis’s career has been focused on developing conservation and documentation methodologies that are collaborative with Native artists, elders and cultural leaders. Her work includes the development of a community-based program in New Mexico for National Museum of the American Indian Conservation Fellows as well as co-facilitating, through the Indian Arts Research Center at SAR, the development of a set of online guidelines for communities and museums engaging in collaborative work. Landis currently serves on several advisory boards including the Board of Trustees of the Haak’u Museum at Acoma Pueblo.