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Connecting Pacific Communities with Collections

Three people viewing collections at the museum
(From left) Ingrid Ahlgren, Laneta Fitisemanu, and Kimo Watanabe, studying collections at the Peabody

One of the largest Pacific Islander communities in the United States is based in and around the Salt Lake City area of Utah, home to more than 40,000 Hawaiians, Tongans, Samoans, Fijians, CHamoru, and other Micronesians. Two thousand miles away, Harvard’s Peabody Museum in Cambridge stewards an extensive collection of cultural materials from the Pacific Islands region. A new community-based program, the Harvard Oceanic Collections Engagement Fellowship (HOCEF), was launched last year to help connect the two. Members of the Oceanic diaspora living in Utah were invited to apply for two fellowships to engage with the Peabody Museum’s broad collection of materials from the Pacific region. In addition to monetary support, awardees are provided individual assistance in navigating and researching collections by our Curator of Oceanic Collections, Dr. Ingrid Ahlgren, and our Collections Stewards and Archivists.

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