Dress Code: Cultural Expression through Printed Cloth of East Africa
This exhibit explores the vibrant colors and intriguing phrases printed on over 50 kanga, women’s cloth garments from Kenya and Tanzania which express feelings that might otherwise be suppressed. Traditional snippets of wisdom in the form of proverbs are traditionally printed on kanga. Several of the kanga displayed in “Dress Code” exhibit, however, are brightly colorful garments imprinted with phrases that relate to jealous interactins between women, such as “A gossiper never gets a vacation”, “When you hate me, it only make my hatred grow”, and “A cigarette picked up fromthe street does not taste sweet” (a taunt directed at a female rival).
The Skull Beneath the Skin: Forensic Anthropology of the Human Cranium
This exhibit takes visitors on a journey of discovery through the world of human osteology. Dozens of human crania reveal the effects sex, violence, disease, age, developmental variation, ancestry, and cultural practices. “The Skull Beneath the Skin” includes a Spanish conquistador from the late 1600s of northern New Mexico who has a metal ax embedded in his a skull, a variety of skulls showing the effects of syphilis, shotgun wounds, and being hit by an 18-wheeler truck, and an array of crania of people of African, Asian, Australian Aboriginal, European, and Mexican-American descent. Visitors will have the opportunity to identify the sex and ancestry of ‘mystery skulls’ displayed in the exhibit.
Maria Martinez and the Pottery of San Ildefonso Pueblo
Maria Martinez (1887-1980) is widely recognized as one of the most highly accomplished Pueblo potters and one of the premier Native American artists of all time. The museum’s collection includes a variety of Maria’s spectacular polished black-on-black pottery, with traditional designs painted by her husband Julian Martinez(1884-1943), her daughter-in-law Santana Roybal Martinez (1909 – 2002), and her son Popovi Da (1923-1971). Among the painted designs is the beguiling form of an avanyu, the plumed serpent that represents the spirit of flowing water, and also an array of radiating feathers inspired by the patterns of the ancient Mimbres people. In addition to the museum’s own collection, this exhibit features two rare examples of the Martinez family’s pottery, generously loaned to the museum by a private collector: a blackware wedding vase that was made byMaria early in her career (before she began signing her pieces) and an exquisite sienna wedding vase shaped byMaria and painted and fired by Julian. Historic photographs of the Martinez family from the archives of the Palace of the Governors and a short film concerning Maria’s life as a potter will be shown together with the gleaming pieces of pottery. Also on display will be a variety of San Ildefonso pottery made by Maria Martinez’ contemporaries and successors, including Tonita Roybal, Juanita Montoya Vigil, Lupita Martinez, Tahn-Moo-Whe (Barbara Gonzales), Blue Corn (Crucita Calabaza), and Adelphia Martinez.
Memories of Pie Town: Rural New Mexico During the Great Depression
This exhibit includes over 50 of the iconic photographs of the homesteaders of Pie Town, New Mexico taken by Russell Lee in 1940. The photographs were used by the Farm Security Administration of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to elicit popular support for the plight of rural farmers during the Great Depression; they were made available to the University Museum by the Library of Congress. Due to the dire economic changes of the Great Depression, especially the devastation wrought by the Dust Bowl, over 200 men, women and children were dispossessed of their lands and livelihoods in Texas and Oklahoma. These hardy families sought refuge by claiming homesteads near Pie Town, New Mexico. Through their hard work, resilience, and great resourcefulness they carved new lives for themselves near the Continental Divide. The photographs indelibly document the details of the homesteaders’ lives, from how they lived in dugout houses, farmed, and raised livestock to how they strived to achieve a coherent community in their new surroundings. The exhibit powerfully illustrates not only the struggles experienced by the families but also how they persevered and thrived during challenging times.
Permanent Exhibit: “Pottery from the Americas”
The NMSU Museum is home to a unique and comprehensive collection of both prehistoric and historical pottery. This collection includes almost 600 pottery vessels that reflect the vibrant artistry and beauty of Southwestern and Mesoamerican ceramics. There is also an extensive type collection of sherds from New Mexico and Chihuahua to be explored, as well as other educational materials.