PacificAnthropology.org is the home of the Field Museum's Regenstein Pacific team.

What is co-curation?

Kosuke Dai of Keio University, Japan, has made a return visit to finish his detailed survey of New Ireland material collected by AB Lewis (via Isokichi Komine.) Dai first visited last year, but finding more material than expected both in collections and Museum archives, has returned to photograph and measure more objects. Keio University holds a number of Komine-collected objects from New Ireland, and with this research Dai hopes to gain better provenience information for both collections, as well as a deeper insight into Komine’s collecting habits and journeys.

(L-R) Chris Philipp and Kosuke Dai study a chalk figure from New Ireland

Researchers Frederick Temo and Maramena Tuna visited the Maori collections as part of their research with Dr. Jennifer Cattermole (University of Otago.) They took detailed measurements and photos of a number of Maori musical instruments, or taonga pūoro, including carved wooden flutes and raupo fiber poi balls. Five flutes were temporarily removed from exhibit in the Regenstein Halls of the Pacific to enable closer examination.


Dr. Cattermole says, “I am one of the co-primary investigators (the other being Maui Solomon, chair of the Hokotehi Moriori Trust) on a research project titled ‘The origins and development of pre-European contact musical instruments in Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Rēkohu (Chatham Islands).’ This study, which is being funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand (UOO-1622), aims to discover how the first southern Polynesian colonists of New Zealand and the Chathams – and their descendants – adapted tropical musical instruments and traditions to the new resources of a large, cool-seasonal continental island group. A key aspect of this mahi (work) involves documenting the taonga pūoro (traditional musical instruments) held in museum collections around the world. We aim to learn a lot about the instruments’ age and place of manufacture by examining their carving styles, manufacture techniques and materials, and (where available) provenance information.”


Four Maori flutes, pictured in their exhibit case in the Regenstein Halls of the Pacific.

The Museum’s photographer, John Weinstein, has completed a photographic survey of uli figures in FM collections. Researcher Jean-Philippe Beaulieu will publish these photos, along with photos of uli figures from other institutions around the world, in a late-2019 book. FM cares for 15 uli figures and the book will contain around 100. We hope that such a broad survey will help other researchers shed new light on the meaning and use of the figures.

FM 138793 © John Weinstein
FM 138793 © John Weinstein