Abbe Museum to Exhibit Wabanaki Root Clubs

abbe museum root clubs emergence

A new exhibit will open in the Abbe Museum’s main gallery on Friday, April 6. An opening reception is set for 5-7 p.m.

“Unlike the ball club, which is very well known and very well published, the Penobscot root club has been almost completely ignored in the history books,” said exhibit curator Stan Neptune, Penobscot.“Emergence — Root Clubs of the Penobscot Nation” celebrates a uniquely Wabanaki art form, a centuries-old craft that has frequently been dismissed by museums and academics as not “traditionally” Wabanaki.

“In the late 19th century when anthropologists started collecting Native American objects, they perceived root clubs as just tourist items. They had no idea of the history. The ‘Emergence’ exhibit will tell that full history.”

The exhibit highlights the diversity of past and contemporary themes found in root club carving. Each club is made out of a sapling, with the slender trunk becoming a chip-carved handle, and the complex wood of the root ball’s burl transformed into evocative representations of people and creatures. Some are painted; some have ornaments attached.

Read the full coverage in the Mount Desert Islander.

Advertisements

Decolonizing Museums is Forum Focus

Catlin-Legutko-Cinnamon-abbe-museum-mtdesertislander

Abbe Museum President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko will discuss decolonizing museum practice and encouraging collaboration among indigenous peoples and the museum field at College of the Atlantic’s Human Ecology Forum in McCormick Lecture Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 4:10 p.m.

The Abbe Museum’s mission is to inspire new learning about the Wabanaki Nations with every visit. In August 2015, the museum completed its most ambitious strategic plan to date, committing to develop and implement decolonizing practices in a museum setting.

During her talk, Catlin-Legutko will discuss that nature of decolonizing museum practice and how it offers opportunities for Wabanaki people to feel connected to the Abbe, promote cultural authority, and encourage collaboration and involvement with and between tribal community members and the museum field. Also, she will discuss the role of the leader in a decolonizing framework, which requires power-sharing skills and a commitment to developing group and personal cultural competencies.

Read the full article in the Mount Desert Islander.

Rethinking Local Archaeology: Indigenous Consultation at Inception

field archaeology

A discussion about policy at the Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor, Maine:

Archaeologists participating in a new advisory committee with the Abbe Museum will discuss the present and future of their field at the Abbe on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m.

“The Abbe was founded in 1926 around goals to collect, preserve and interpret the archaeological record of the region, and we have been doing archaeological research in the Wabanaki homeland since 1928,” Julia Gray wrote on the museum’s blog. “However, like most archaeological work in North America, this was not done with any involvement with or consideration for the Wabanaki people themselves for many decades. In recent years, the museum has begun to work more collaboratively on some aspects of our archaeological content, but as a decolonizing museum, we know that we need to do so much more.”

Panelists include Kristen Barnett (Aleut), lecturer in anthropology at Bates College; Dave Putnam, lecturer of science at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, where he teaches anthropology, archaeology, glacial geology and climate change; Paulette Steeves (Cree-Metis), assistant professor indigenous anthropologist-archaeologist at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada; and Larry Zimmerman, professor of anthropology and museum studies, public scholar of Native American representation and adjunct professor, Native American and indigenous studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The archaeological advisory committee is comprised of native archaeologists and others working in the field who will guide the museum’s archaeological research, collections management and interpretation fully into a decolonizing framework.

Abbe Museum Launches Wabanaki Cultural Database

abbe museum bar harbor me front facade

The Abbe Museum has begun making its non-archaeological items available online with the goal of uploading all such items to its searchable database over the course of the next 12 months.

“We have been looking forward to sharing our collections online for a long time,” said Julia Gray, director of collections and interpretation. “With only a small portion of our collections on exhibit at any time, this gives people a chance to see so much more and to learn about Wabanaki history and culture through art and objects from anywhere in the world. We are also excited to use this as a platform to welcome Wabanaki community input and perspectives on our collections.”

Full story at Mount Desert Islander.

Deep Time: Wabanaki Presence in the Dawnland

People of the First Light Abbe Museum

“People of the First Light,” the main exhibit at the Abbe Museum in downtown Bar Harbor, explores the history and culture of the native people who lived on Mount Desert Island for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. Photo by Dick Broom.

By the time European explorers “discovered” the coast of Maine in the early 1600s, native people already had been living here for thousands of years.

Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation dating back at least 5,000 years on and around Mount Desert Island.

Long before the first Europeans came, the native people had established “a well-adapted and fairly affluent life in their homeland surrounding present-day Acadia National Park,” wrote Julia Clark and George Neptune of the Abbe Museum of Maine Native American history and culture in Bar Harbor.

Full story at the Mount Desert Islander.

Wabanaki Artist Fellowship Offered

jeremy frey basket abbe museum

Basket by Jeremy Frey, Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor, Maine.

The second annual fellowship program to help Wabanaki artists promote their work within the greater artistic communities has been announced by the Abbe Museum and Dawnland LLC.

Three fellowships will be awarded to provide support for travel, lodging and other costs associated with exhibiting at Indian art markets in Maine and New Mexico. The submission deadline is midnight April 15.

The fellowships are part of the museum’s “efforts to foster and promote contemporary Wabanaki art in both a regional and national context,” said Abbe Museum President and CEO Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko.

Full article at the Mount Desert Islander.