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Archive for Saturday, August 11, 2007

Spooner artifacts go on display

August 11, 2007

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Some of Kansas University's more than 10,000 collected ethnographic artifacts have begun showing up in an exhibit at the Spencer Museum of Art.

"They're flashy," interim curator Tom Foor said in June of the items, which include clothing, masks, weavings and artwork.

The museum took over stewardship of the collection, which is housed in Spooner Hall, in January. It includes artifacts collected by legendary KU anthropologist Lewis Lindsay Dyche and Sallie Casey Thayer, whose original donations of collected art established the KU Museum of Art in 1928.

Access to the artifacts has been limited to scholarly research since 2002 when the Museum of Anthropology closed due to budget cuts.

Plans included integrating a few artifacts, most made in the 19th and 20th centuries and collected in North America, Latin American, Africa and Australia, into the Spencer's 20/21 Gallery in late July.

"When viewers come in, they will be thrilled by the quality of the objects that have been selected for display in that gallery," said Saralyn Reece Hardy, the Spencer's director, in June.

Hardy said the Spencer would begin conducting an international search for a permanent collections curator. "It will need to be someone who understands how anthropology and art come together in museums," she said.

Foor will be returning to the University of Montana, where he retired as an anthropology professor, likely at the end of the summer. His wife, Peggy Kuhr, has been named the journalism dean at Montana. Since 2002, she has served as a KU professor and Knight Chair in community journalism. For two years, Foor has served temporarily at KU as curator of the ethnographic collection.

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