Friday, December 12, 2014

arizona state museum: edward s. curtis and the pottery project

the arizona state museum, sitting on the edge of university of arizona's campus, is filled with some of the most amazing native american art and history i've ever seen. as you walk into the museum, there are two rooms on either side of the lobby that house temporary exhibits. additionally, the museum has two permanent exhibits: the pottery project and the paths of life. at a $5 admission fee there is no reason to not visit this stunning museum. 

i had the absolute pleasure of visiting the museum when there was an edward s. curtis exhibit on display (showing until july 18, 2015). despite being confined to one small room, twenty or so photographs (of his thousands), and dogged by controversy, it was one of the most moving exhibits i've ever seen. 

in 1898, edward s. curtis (1868-1952) began the thirty year process of documenting "a vanishing race", the indigenous people west of the mississippi river. the end result: twenty leather bound volumes of text and twenty portfolios of photogravures, in addition to over 40,000 negatives and recordings of songs and languages. 

the pottery project, a magnificent permanent exhibit of the arizona state museum, is the largest collection of southwest indian pottery with over 20,000 vessels. as you walk into the exhibit you are confronted with approximately 150 specimens arranged in a large glass case with explanations, photographs, and details about each piece. it's absolutely spectacular! there are so many different designs, styles, and tribes represented. but maybe the coolest part is the glimpse into the conservation lab, where scientists preserve the artifacts, and the pottery vault, which provides a stable storage environment. 



monday to saturday, 10am-5pm
$5 admission

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