Rewriting the Past: The Problem of Historic Language in Museum Collections

Folder of photographs sitting on a desk
Print from the Marshall Family Archives
≠Toma (Khuan//a's son) holding an axe

The Marshall Family Archives Digitization Project is one of the Peabody Museum’s most ambitious digitization projects to date. With generous funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the project will make the entire Marshall Family Collection digitally available, creating over 50,000 new media files from the negatives, prints, slides, stereoscopic transparencies, and paper records.... Read more about Rewriting the Past: The Problem of Historic Language in Museum Collections

Chac Mool installation

Plaster statue of reclining figure
Mayan Chac Mool, 92-50-20/C1099 

This plaster cast is a model of a Chac Mool statue originally found at the Post-Classic Maya site of Chichen Itza in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Along with approximately one thousand other casts in the collection, this one was created in the late 19th century and was on display at the museum until the mid-1980s.... Read more about Chac Mool installation

Marshall Family Archives Digitization Project

Group of people standing outside talking
//Kushay telling Laurence, Ledimo, and John that //Ao has gone to the farms, 2001.29.621

In June of 1950, Laurence K. Marshall, former chairperson of Raytheon Company, and his 17-year-old son John trekked into the deserts of Southern Africa seeking the famed “Lost City of the Kalahari.” They did not find a lost city, but this expedition began a life-long relationship between the Marshall Family and people of the Kalahari Desert. Ten years, eight expeditions, and close to 40,000 images resulted in one of the most significant anthropological field projects of the twentieth century.... Read more about Marshall Family Archives Digitization Project

Inman Portrait Collections

Young woman standing next to a painted portrait
Jaidyn Probst with a portrait of Rant-che-wai-me (Female Flying Pigeon), Iowa. 82-51-10/57030


A guest blog post from Jaidyn Probst, a second year Harvard student and member of the Lower Sioux Indian community. Jaidyn is a concentrator in Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology who worked with the Peabody remotely this past January break as a “wintern.” The Arts & Museums winternship program, run by the Harvard Office of Career Services, offers students a chance to learn more about what it’s like to work in a cultural institution.... Read more about Inman Portrait Collections

Egyptian Collections Research

Desert landscape in black and white
Mesa'eed, one of the sites excavated by George Reisner and his associates. Mohammedani Ibrahim Ibrahim (expedition photographer), Mesaid, Cemetery from West, April 1, 1913, Harvard University-Boston Museum of Fine Arts Expedition photograph A886_NS

The Peabody Museum curates a collection of human skeletal remains from the Nile Valley in Egypt, most of which are from the joint Harvard University-Museum of Fine Arts Boston expeditions led by George Reisner in the early 20th century. The Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MFA) holds the documentation for these expeditions, as well as the majority of the artifacts, while most of the human skeletal remains, dating from the Predynastic to the Ptolemaic period, are stewarded at the Peabody.... Read more about Egyptian Collections Research

Salt Prints Research

portrait of a seated man wearing traditional native american dress
Portrait of Wi-ga-sa-pi, 2004.1.125.33

As a research institution, the Peabody Museum hosts hundreds of research visits every year. This post from our Senior Archivist, Katherine Satriano, tells us about a past visit from Dr. Arthur McClelland of Harvard’s Center for Nanoscale Systems. Arthur visited the Peabody Museum Archives this past spring to study salted paper prints, a rare early photographic format, as part of a research project he developed with Elena Bulat of the Harvard Library’s Weissman Preservation Center.... Read more about Salt Prints Research

Conservation for Publication Photography

Headdress made of painted wood
Yukuna headdress, 53-47-30/7499

Welcome to the Peabody Museum’s conservation lab! In the lab we treat and care for objects for a variety of reasons including exhibits, loans, and publication photography. For publication photography, we work collaboratively with curators and the Associate Registrar for Rights and Reproductions to prepare objects so they can be safely and appropriately photographed for exhibit catalogs, Peabody Museum Press publications, and use in other print and digital media.... Read more about Conservation for Publication Photography

Collections Management Highlights

Table with artifacts on it

The Peabody Museum is currently closed due to social distancing protocols and most Museum staff have shifted to working from home. During this time when the team is physically away from the collections, we will share some of the projects we have worked on recently. While Harvard classes have all transitioned online, this...

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Annex Catalog Crew

Two people in labcoats working with museum collections

Welcome to the Peabody Museum’s Annex! The Annex is our main archaeological collection storage as well as a cataloging, research and teaching space.

The Annex Catalog Crew is busy at work each day helping to make the inorganic archaeological collections at the Museum accessible to Harvard faculty and students, external researchers, and other stakeholders. Each member of the Catalog Crew is committed to overseeing the ethical care and stewardship of the extensive archaeological collections held by the Peabody Museum.... Read more about Annex Catalog Crew