|Mississippian objects a the Field Mus|
This operation will be a disaster to archaeological research in a number of ways. First, the collections will be more difficult to access, and the infrastructural support for visiting scholars will undoubtedly be reduced. I have worked on Mesoamerican pottery in the Field Museum's collections on several occasions (the last time was just this past July). Museum collections are an invaluable resource for archaeology, crucial for many important research questions. See Smith (2004; n.d.) for some general statements of this view. For every object on display at museums like the Field Museum, there are perhaps hundreds (maybe thousands) curated in the research collections. If you haven't worked with museum collections, you should - there is an impressive amount of good, problem-oriented research to be done with these materials.
|Aztec flute in the Field Museum|
A second negative impact of the proposed cuts concerns the curators at the museum. The Anthropology Department at the museum has a number of outstanding archaeologists who carry out original field research and also work on the collections. This is an important center for high-quality archaeological research, and the budget cuts cannot but injure this program.
Third, severe budget cuts will also have a negative impact on the archaeology program of the University of Illinois-Chicago. Their PhD program in anthropology has flourished through interaction with the scientific staff of the Field Museum, many of whom hold joint appointments with UIC.
Please sign the petition to save the Field Museum collections and scientific research capabilities.There is an article in the Chicago Tribune on the situation at the museum.
Smith, Michael E.
n.d. Las bodegas de museos como fuente de información arqueológica: Las contribuciones de Felipe Solís Olguín. In Homenaje al maestro Felipe Solís Olguín, edited by Roberto García Moll and Rafael Fierro Padilla. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico City. Volume in preparation.
Smith, Michael E.
2004 Aztec Materials in Museum Collections: Some Frustrations of a Field Archaeologist. Nahua Newsletter 38:21-28.