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Crossroads of Culture

Crossroads of Culture: Anthropology Collections at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

CHIP COLWELL-CHANTHAPHONH
STEPHEN E. NASH
STEVEN R. HOLEN
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 224
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1d8h9n1
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  • Book Info
    Crossroads of Culture
    Book Description:

    The hectic front of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science hides an unseen back of the museum that is also bustling. Less than 1 percent of the museum's collections are on display at any given time, and the Department of Anthropology alone cares for more than 50,000 objects from every corner of the globe not normally available to the public. This lavishly illustrated book presents and celebrates the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's exceptional anthropology collections for the first time.

    The book presents 123 full-color images to highlight the museum's cultural treasures. Selected for their individual beauty, historic value, and cultural meaning, these objects connect different places, times, and people. From the mammoth hunters of the Plains to the first American pioneer settlers to the flourishing Hispanic and Asian diasporas in downtown Denver, the Rocky Mountain region has been home to a breathtaking array of cultures. Many objects tell this story of the Rocky Mountains' fascinating and complex past, whereas others serve to bring enigmatic corners of the globe to modern-day Denver.

    Crossroads of Cultureserves as a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum's anthropology collections. All the royalties from this publication will benefit the collections of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's Department of Anthropology.

    eISBN: 978-1-60732-025-8
    Subjects: Art & Art History, Anthropology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Plates (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments (pp. xiii-xv)
  6. [Map] (pp. xvi-xvi)
  7. CHAPTER ONE “One of the Great Institutions”: An Introduction (pp. 1-14)

    On any given day you can visit the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and discover a bustling scene: visitors touring exhibits, school groups interacting with museum volunteers, hungry patrons eating at the T-Rex Cafe, crowds pushing into the Planetarium, eager listeners filling Ricketson Auditorium for a public lecture. The museum reaches, on average, about 1.3 million visitors every year—a number that is only exceeded by the Field Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and American Museum of Natural History. In short, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is a big and busy place.

    The hectic “front” of the museum—the exhibits, lecture...

  8. CHAPTER TWO American Ethnology Collection (pp. 15-20)

    Countless Native American cultures have swept across the shores of North America, like the ocean’s ebb and flow. The rich diversity of many of these traditions and ways of life is documented in the American Ethnology Collection, which lies at the heart of the Department of Anthropology’s collections as a whole. The value of these holdings to American history, science, public education, and Native heritage is significant: it forms the foundation of the Crane American Indian Cultures Hall, dozens of temporary exhibits, articles and other investigation by numerous researchers, and lectures and classes offered annually. Since the 1968 donation of...

  9. CHAPTER THREE American Archaeology Collection (pp. 21-28)

    The American Archaeology Collection presents a rare window into the histories and cultures of the Rocky Mountain region’s peoples before contact with Europeans. Thousands of archaeological artifacts and specimens are curated from across North America. Over the last eight decades, objects in the American Archaeology Collection have arrived at the museum in myriad ways—through amateur collecting and subsequent donation, purchase from dealers, and controlled scientific excavation. As a result of these ad hoc origins, the American Archaeology Collection is not systematic or representative of pre-Columbian cultures in the Rocky Mountain region, much less greater North America. It therefore constitutes...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR World Archaeology Collection (pp. 29-30)

    The World Archaeology Collection includes primarily Egyptian artifacts with small collections from other Mediterranean cultures. It therefore facilitates an entrée into these cultures but cannot be considered systematic or representative. This collection arrived at the museum in myriad ways but largely through amateur collecting and subsequent donation. Such activities have been performed largely by interested parties outside of the Department of Anthropology and in association with temporary blockbuster exhibitions like Ramses II (1987) and The Quest for Immortality (2004).

    The World Archaeology Collection consists of 2,105 artifacts, including objects from ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, Babylonia, and Sumeria. The remaining objects...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE World Ethnology Collection (pp. 31-36)

    The World Ethnology Collection teaches us about societies around the globe and contextualizes the Rocky Mountains’ own history and cultures. For millennia, the Rocky Mountains have been a crossroads of cultures, from the ancient Paleoindian communities to the meeting of Navajo, Ute, and Pueblo peoples to the recent migrations of Hmong and Sudanese refugees. Today, Colorado residents drink coffee grown in Java and drive cars assembled in Japan. In a single day, we can travel half way across the globe. Pollution emitted in Boulder can reach Beijing—and vice versa—within days. The world is ever increasingly becoming a web...

  12. CHAPTER SIX “Never Finished”: The Anthropology Collections Today and Tomorrow (pp. 37-42)

    In 2008, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science celebrated 100 years of having its doors open to the public. As we move beyond this anniversary, it is important to acknowledge how the museum’s future depends upon its past. All the programs and exhibits, classes and research that the museum can pursue in large part depend on being able to effectively use the collections, gathered in fits and starts; careful science; and chance donations over the last century.

    Never before has a book attempted to summarize and present the museum’s anthropology collections. This book is therefore an initial attempt to lay...

  13. PLATES (pp. 43-166)
  14. NOTES (pp. 167-170)
  15. INDEX (pp. 171-174)