February - May, 2012 — Joshua Drew, Ph.D. (formerly of the Biodiversity Synthesis Center - Field Museum, currently of the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, NY)

Joshua Drew went on a tour of the Fijian collections with Regenstein Collections Manager Christopher Philipp.  During this visit Josh asked whether or not the Anthropology collections had any shark tooth weapons from the Gilbert Islands in Micronesia.  While it was evident that there were many such weapons in the collection, the exact count was uncertain as the database did not list materials for all probable objects.  

Philipp and volunteer Katie Roberts (now of George Washington University, Washington D.C.) performed an inventory of the materials used in the construction of all the potential weapons from the Gilbert Islands.  They found that there were exactly 124 objects with either one shark tooth or, as in most cases, many shark teeth, used in their construction.  They also updated the Museum’s database to include all of the materials present in these collections.

Between the months of February and May Drew and Philipp made several trips into the collection and pulled several cart loads of weapons to closely examine the types of shark teeth represented in each of the weapons.  Once Drew is finished evaluating these collections the identifications and photos taken during the visits will be added to the Museum’s database.

Below is a submission from Josh describing his visit:

Sharks have played an important role in the culture and economy of the people of Gilbert Islands within the Republic of Kiribati.  However their reefs, like many throughout the world, have undergone a period of rapid and intensive environmental perturbation over the past 100 years.  A byproduct of these changes has been a reduction of the number of shark species present in their waters.  Using a novel data source - the Shark Tooth Weapons of the Gilbertese Islanders - we hope to reconstruct which species of sharks were present in the Gilbert Islands in the late 19th century, fully 50 years before the first western scientific ichthyologic inventories on the reef took place.

By comparing the high resolution images of the shark teeth on the weapons to field guides to sharks, and specimens within the holdings in the Division of Fishes, we have identified at least two species of shark which are found on the weapons but were have not been recorded as occurring in the Gilbert Islands.  However using nontraditional forms of data is not without potential pitfalls.  This discrepancy between the historical record and our observed findings could occur from the teeth originating in other areas, the shark species being overlooked or the species being extirpated from the waters by the time intensive fish surveys were carried out.  There are extensive linguistic, ethnographic and material culture records supporting shark fishing as being an important part of the Glibertese culture.  Coupled with few records of widespread trade networks, it is reasonable to assume that the vast majority of the shark teeth originated in fish that were caught by Gilbertese fishers.  The species of shark that we have identified are conspicuous and have been easily identified by researchers in other studies where they co-occur and we have little reason to doubt that misidentification could cause this disconnect.  Several studies have shown that shark populations are easily susceptible to population collapse and we cannot rule out that the species present in the 1840-1890s were not depleted to such low numbers that they were not recorded in subsequent fishery records.

In conclusion this work highlights the kinds of innovative multidisciplinary research that natural history museums can engender. Moreover it underscores the importance of museum collections in allowing researchers to address changes in both the biological and cultural diversity within a region.

For more recent news related to this research please see the following: 



May 9-13, 2011 — Dr. Katherine Szabó (University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia)

Dr. Szabó visited with Regenstein Collections Manager Chris Philipp and Collections Manager Jamie Kelly for one week in order to conduct preliminary research on the Museum’s  A. B. Lewis and Fay Cooper Cole collections.  Kat was primarily interested in looking at ethnographic shell items for comparison with shell fragments found at archaeological sites in the Pacific as she is trying to develop more effective methodologies for identifying and interpreting shell-working.  Below is a summary submitted by Dr. Szabó documenting the success of her visit:

Research on shell objects within the Regenstein Pacific Collections

Dr Katherine Szabó

University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Within the extensive Pacific Island material culture collections amassed by Field Museum curator Albert Buell Lewis are many objects produced in, or utilising, marine shell.  From simple knives and vegetable preparation tools to complex and intricate objects such as strings of tiny beads utilised as money, shell was a raw material of fundamental importance across the islands of Melanesia.  The importance of shell as a raw material is also attested archaeologically, with shell adzes, beads, fishhooks, bracelets and other objects recovered from archaeological sites across Melanesia.

While heavily modified shell objects like fishhooks and beads are easily recognisable to archaeologists, the simpler tools as well as unfinished artefacts and production waste tend not to be so readily identifiable.  It is often difficult to distinguish between breakage and modification caused by the shell’s use as a tool, breakage to facilitate the extraction of the animal for consumption, or damage to the shell caused by incidental processes such as trampling by humans or animals.  To complicate matters further, different types of shells will tend to fracture differently according to their overall design as well as variation in the way it’s constructed at the micro-level.  These difficulties in positively identifying and describing shell artefacts are amplified with older regional sites, where tool forms are generally simpler than their later counterparts.

Dr. Katherine Szabó of the Centre for Archaeological Science, University of Wollongong, Australia, is currently being funded by the Australian Research Council to work on developing methodologies to get around these various issues with the identification of shell artefacts to provide a more balanced view of ancient Asia-Pacific technologies.  A selection of shell objects from the Regenstein Pacific collections form a pivotal part of this research.

Not only is the A.B. Lewis collection of Melanesian material culture large, but it is exceptional in the amount of accompanying information on individual objects as well as Lewis’ foresight in collecting “everyday” and unfinished objects as well as more elaborate artefacts.  Under the microscope, the many unfinished shell objects show the traces of the tools used to form them, and the various shell knives and scrapers reveal diagnostic traces of the activities that modified them such as peeling taro corms and scraping out coconut flesh.  The archival information attached to each object allows specific tasks and tools to be linked to particular traces of wear, modification and damage on the surfaces and edges of artefacts.  It is this information which allows archaeologists to more confidently interpret the surfaces of ancient shell artefacts and infer on their use.


February 11, 2011 — Jessica Jernigan (Collections Manager, Witte Museum, San Antontio, TX)

Regenstein Collections Manager Chris Philipp toured the Collections Resource Center with Jessica Jernigan and guests looking at the different ways ethnographic collections are stored and housed at the Field Museum.  Particular attention was given to our Oversize, Pacific, and African collections and how these collections are organized, accessed, and cared for in the CRC storage facility and utilizing the Spacesaver compactors units.


June 1 - June 11, 2010 — Chris Wingfield (Ph.D Candidate, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom / Lecturer: Understanding Global Heritage, The Open University)

Mr. Wingfield visited with Regenstein Collections Manager Chris Philipp for two weeks in order to conduct doctoral research on the museum and collections of the London Missionary Society, some of which are now part of the Fuller collection at the Field Museum (his proposed thesis title is The Moving Objects of the London Missionary Society).  Chris was primarily interested in trying to identify these objects, as our database did not previously indicate whether they had originally been a part of the LMS collections.  In order to do so much time was spent looking at the Museum’s paper documentation, listening to the sonoband recordings of Fuller, and by looking at collections with Philipp in order to identify original LMS tags.  Below is an account submitted by Chris Wingfield documenting the success of his visit.

Research Visit to Chicago – 28th May – 12th June 2006 by Chris Wingfield:

The main focus of my research trip, funded as a study visit abroad by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, was to work on the Fuller collection held by the Field Museum in Chicago. Fuller was a twentieth century private collector of ethnographic material, who in 1958 sold his collection of Pacific material to the Field Museum. I had come across references to Fuller purchasing material from the London Missionary Society museum in archival letters, and had also acquired a copy of a catalogue of the LMS museum which had belonged to Fuller, in which he had marked the items that he thought belonged to him.

What was really exciting about the trip to Chicago was not just the chance to identify which objects Fuller had bought from the LMS, but the recordings the Field Museum had of Fuller describing his collection, and its origins. The Field Museum had sent their curator, Raymond Force to visit Fuller in his house to make recordings of Fuller talking about the objects in his collection. These had been made on Sonobands, and old form of tape recording. Abbreviated transcriptions of these recordings had been made at the time, but more recently the recordings had also been digitized. These recordings offered the possibility of hearing Fuller talk about the objects he had acquired from the LMS and why he felt they were important, but also talk about the circumstances in which he had acquired them.

On arrival in Chicago, the first problem became to identify those objects which had come from the LMS among the 9158 objects at the Field Museum that are associated with Fuller. The original 1958 acquisition involved 6908 objects, but had been followed by a number of further donations, which added to this figure. The current database does not include information about the origins of the objects, beyond their acquisition from Fuller, but it was found that the card catalogue which had been compiled based on the transcriptions of the sonoband recordings did include this information. Much of the first week of the research was spent working through the card catalogue, looking for references to the London Missionary Society collection.

The initial concentration was on the 1958 acquisition, because it was for these objects that the sonoband recordings had been made. It was possible, on this basis to identify 132 objects that Fuller had identified as having come from the LMS collection. In addition he recorded four dates on which he acquired material from the LMS:

·         May 31st 1910 (2)

·         August 31st 1912 (1)

·         December 4th 1928 (26)

·         December 4th 1936 (2)

The majority of objects (101), however, had no date of acqusition recorded by Fuller. Going through the card catalogues also made it possible to identify a number of other objects in Fuller’s collection which had connections with the LMS. Fuller also seems to have acquired 26 objects from the Dr. Ralph Wardlaw Thompson, Foreign Secretary to the LMS 1881-1914. These were acquired on:

–August 9th 1912 (20)

–November 19th 1912 (1)

–June 25th 1913 (4)

–Posthumously from his successor on September 2 1932         

22 of these were from Papua New Guinea, 1 from New Caledonia, 1 from Vanuatu, 1 from Niue and 1 from Tokelau. The Fuller collection also includes material connected to John Williams (3), Wyatt Gill (2), Captain Hoare (1) and a collection of arrows from Papua New Guinea collected by a Samoan missionary and given to James Bryant (7) -all of whom had LMS connections. In addition, the Fuller collection also included 5 bows and 27 arrows that may have been collected by James Chalmers and Harry Scott in PNG and the Torres Straits from Cheshunt college, a congregational training institution with strong LMS links.

On the basis of these identifications it was possible to look at the transcriptions and listen to the digitized versions of the sonoband recording that related to these objects. These included some very interesting accounts of Fuller’s transactions with the LMS:

In 1910, according to his own account Fuller “simply bought up anything the British Museum didn't have, virtually a gift from the London Missionary…I knew Wardlaw Thompson who was the president. And I knew far better, the Rev. Neville Jones…Neville Jones was at the same public school as me…Joyce [from the British Museum] came down and got some other idols and got those, then there was still a lot left. Jones said to me, "Would you like a picking here," so he had Balfour [from the Pitt Rivers Museum] and myself come down and get a picking. So Jones had us give a shilling for things. We took turns and chose.

The second main acquisition of LMS material by Fuller seems to have occurred in 1928:

the pieces [were] in the council chamber of the society, 30 or 40 feet up on the wall arranged as a great star… when I bought the London Missionary collection things, they said well you can’t get those down, it would cost to much, you must have, it was too long for any ladder. We have now no ladder to get up there you see. You will have to wait until we can get them down…

Neville Jones happened to be back in England…He came down here one day… and said ‘You know boy, you’d better hurry up with those, those clubs, I saw Beasley very longingly, lovingly fingering them….Well I don’t trust any collector, {Laughs}  Beasley especially and I said I’ll go and see about it at once so I rang up Chamberlain and made an appointment straight away..

Both of these accounts suggest the close personal relationships that existed between LMS officers, museum curators such as Balfour and Joyce, and private collectors such as Fuller. The second account also suggests the degree of competition that existed between Fuller and Beasley as private collectors of ethnographic material. They are also suggestive of the disregard with which the LMS seems to have treated their collections, in contrast to the way in which they were sought after by Fuller, Beasley as well as Balfour.

 In the copy of the 1860 catalogue which belonged to Fuller, and is now at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii, Fuller marked 61 items with crosses, as being in his collection. 30 were from the Pacific, 27 from Africa, 3 from Madagascar and 1 from the Caribbean. It was possible to identify 26 of these from the Pacific on the basis of the Sonaband recordings.

 By looking at the catalogue cards, as well as the labels attached to them, it was possible to identify two objects from Madagascar, one club from Guyana, as well as thirty objects from southern Africa, all from the LMS collection. In the second week, it was possible to see and photograph 101 objects from the Fuller collection that had been in the LMS museum, and in many cases to identify labels that had been used by the LMS. It was possible to import data from the Field Museum database in relation to all these objects into my own research database and to supplement this with images and transcriptions of the catalogue cards, of the objects themselves, and with transcriptions of the sonoband recordings. I anticipate that all of these resources will be extremely useful when it comes to writing a chapter on the dispersal of the LMS collections, and their passage into the hands of both institutional museum collections, as well as those of private collectors such as Fuller and Beasley, which in most cases ended up in institutional collections eventually.


April 12 and 13, 2010 — Dr. Alice Storey (Lecturer, Department of Archaeology and Palaeoanthropoloy, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia)

For several years Dr. Storey has been in communication with the Department in attempts to locate chicken bones excavated by Dr. Reinman.  Regenstein Collections Manager has never been able to locate these chicken bones in the collections - as none of the faunal material was indicated as such in the Museum's database.  On these two days in April Dr. Storey visited the archaeological collections from Micronesia in the Museum's holdings in hopes of finding the elusive chicken bones with Philipp!  Below is Dr. Storey's abstract for research for this visit:

The density and distribution of chicken remains in Pacific archaeological sites is important to understanding issues related to husbandry, the dispersal routes for specific domesticates and even trade and exchange. The earliest documented assemblages of chicken remains in Micronesia appear to be from Guam with counts of 81 individual chicken bones for the Inarajan Village Site, 38 for the Nomna Bay Site and three for the Tolofofo River Valley site (Reinman 1968). However, several authors have stated there is no compelling evidence for the presence of pig, dog or chicken in pre-contact deposits in the Marianas (Rainbird 2004: 125, Steadman 2006: 89). This absence is argued to represent a true lack of chickens as extensive excavations which have taken place in the region since have failed to result in the recovery of chicken bones (Wickler 2004: 37). This has led to questions about the security of the chickens that Reinman (1986) reported from Guam.  Intoh (1991, 2008) suggests that the material from Reinman’s Nomna site could be mixed, as glass and metal were recovered from the lowest stratum. The upper levels of the Inarajan Village site were also reported as mixed with historic materials. Reinman (1968: 24) stated that while there was some blending of materials most of the artifacts found below stratum I were of prehistoric manufacture. While there is no stratigraphic information for the chicken remains, Reminman’s assertion that they were in a prehistoric context and the number of remains, particularly at the Inarajan Village site, is suggestive of a prehistoric provenience. It is essential that a more detailed examination be made of the chickens, their stratigraphic provenience (if the information exists) and the nature of the assemblage recovered from chicken bearing strata in order to assess the likelihood that Reinman did indeed encounter prehistoric chicken remains in his excavations in Guam.

Intoh, M.
1991 Archaeological Research on Fais Island: Preliminary Report. Tokai University.

Intoh, Michiko
2008 Ongoing Archaeological Research on Fais Island, Micronesia. Asian Perspectives 47:121-138.

Rainbird, Paul
2004 The archaeology of Micronesia. Cambridge University Press, New York.

Reinman, Fred M.
1968 Guam Prehistory: A Preliminary Field Report. In Prehistoric culture in Oceania : a symposium, edited by I. Yawata and Yosihiko H. Sinoto, pp. 41-50. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Reinman, Fred R.
1977 An archaeological survey and preliminary test excavations on the island of Guam, Mariana Islands, 1965-1966. Micronesian Area Research Center University of Guam, [Agana, Guam].

Steadman, David W.
2006 Extinction and Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Wickler, Stephen
2004 Modelling Colonisation and Migration in Micronesia from a Zooarchaeological Perspective. In Colonisation, migration, and marginal areas : a zooarchaeological approach, edited by Mariana Mondini, Sebastián Munõz, and Stephen Wickler., pp. 28-40. Oxbow, Oxford.

As a result of Dr. Storey's visit we believe we finally have an answer to the mystery of the missing chicken bones in the collection.  After looking through all of the faunal material it appears that the original excavators and catalogers identified all bird bones as "chicken" that were excavated. So, Dr. Storey did not find the chicken bones she was hoping to use in her research, but has contributed to clarifying the mystery of our "missing" chicken bones!


February 11, 2010 — Dr. Carol Ivory (Associate Dean for Curriculum & Instruction, Washington State University)

Regenstein Collections Manager Christopher J. Philipp gave a tour to Dr. Ivory and Dr. Robin Wright of the CRC Pacific collections and caught up since they last saw each other at the Marquesan Festival of Art in Ua Pou.  Philipp highlighted some of the collections that were brought back from the Marquesas at the end of 2007.

April 12, 2010 — Elizabeth A. Akana (“The Hawaiian Quilter” Teacher / Lecturer / Author, Boulder, Colorado)

Elizabeth A. Akana returned to take a closer look at the lone Hawaiian quilt (catalog number 3601.259778.) in the Field Museum’s Pacific collections.  Elizabeth previously visited in November of 2009.  On this return visit, the quilt was unrolled and both sides viewed and investigated utilizing the open space in the front of the Pacific storeroom in the Collections Resource Center.  Elizabeth took detailed measurements and  photographs, including close-ups of the seams.  Elizabeth also received permission from Dr. Terrell to take a sample of the batting used inside the quilt.  Elizabeth recorded all of this information on forms for Laurie Woodard of the Hawaiian Quilt Research Project.  Philipp later provided copies of the documentation on the quilt to the Hawaiian Quilt Research Project.  The quilt is now registered by the Hawaiian Quilt Research Project, which to date has recorded most all the quilts at most of the museums in Hawaii - numbering over 1,000 privately owned and museum quilts.  Now that the quilt at the Field Museum is registered, all future information found on this quilt or its pattern by the Hawaiian Quilt Research Project will be shared with us.


October 5 - 6, 2009 — Roger Blackley (Senior Lecturer, School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies, Victoria UniversityWellington, New Zealand) 

Roger Blackley stopped in Chicago in October to look at several items from the A.W.F. Fuller collection.  Professor Blackley’s principal research target is the artist and collector, Horatio Gordon Robley, who was acquaintance and correspondent of Captain Fuller’s.  Professor Blackley was also interested in examining a number of articles known to be the work of Edward Little (see Christopher C. Legge's "Little Fakes").  With Regenstein Collections Manager Christopher J. Philipp, Professor Blackly was able to inspect a range of artifacts considered to be Maori, including those that were identified as European made or spurious by A.W.F. Fuller, as well as others that originated from other sources.  One such highlight of the trip was a carved jawbone that entered the Field Museum as part of T.E. Donne’s collection in 1924 (catalog number 1502.160027.).  Professor Blackley later encountered documentation outside the Museum that suggests that this jawbone was acquired by H.G. Robley before ending up in the hands of T.E. Donne.  

September 21 - September 24, 2009 — Dr. Patrica Te Arapo Wallace (Research Associate from the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand)

 A recent visitor to the Field was Dr Patricia Te Arapo Wallace.  Travel funding for her research of early Maori textiles held in USA museums was subsidised by a 2009 Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship. 

Patricia’s Ph.D. was on traditional Maori dress, with a focus on recovering semi-forgotten details of pre-1820 practice.  She first visited the Field Museum in 2002, but on this latest visit her focus was on the details of early Maori weaving techniques: commencements, attachments, methods of finishing, etc. in line with her growing interest in the recovery of indigenous technology. While Maori weaving practice is very strong in New Zealand, some of the earlier techniques ‘have slipped under the radar’ with the passage of time, the process of colonization and the adoption of European dress and culture.  She found the substantial Fuller collection and other material at the Field to be a very valuable resource. 

With pressure of time, and a very tight budget, Patricia had developed a research technique that relied heavily on the use of her digital camera, in combination with a traditional linen thread counter. 

When she returns to New Zealand, Patricia’s intention is produce a book that will make these Maori taonga (treasures) more widely known; and by including images that local weavers can ‘read’, she hopes to contribute to the trans-generational transfer of traditional knowledge.  We can be quietly confident that material from the Field collections will feature significantly in such a book.

April 21, 2009 — David Said (Editor, Oceanic Art Society Newsletter, Woolahra, New South Wales, Australia)

 Mr. Said paid the Museum's Pacific exhibitions several visits during the week and also had the chance to tour the Pacific collections with Regenstein Collections Manager Christopher J. Philipp.  Mr. Said was interested in seeing objects from the famous A.W.F. Fuller and A.B. Lewis Collections.  Mr. Said said that he had always wished to see the NguzuNguzu (war canoe prow charm) from the Solomon Islands that was proported to have incorporated in its construction, the spectacles of a missionary that was killed and eaten in the Solomons.  It just so happened that this item is one of the pieces selected to travel to Mexico later this year and was sitting out on a table in the front of the storage room for Mr. Said to see.  Philipp showed Mr. Said the old PRL storeroom as well as the Oversize storeroom in the Collections Resource Center so that he could see how the Museum has upgraded its storage facilities since 2000.

April 6-9, 2009 — Carlos Mondragón (Centro de Estudios de Asia y África – El Colegio De México, México City, México)

 On his first return visit to the Field Museum, Dr. Mondragón spent the better part of the week meeting with several museum staff members in regards to the "Moana" Exhibition organized by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).  While it was Carlos' main goal to research the archives and records for label information for the now 140 items represented by 124 catalog numbers, he also attended to questions regarding the photography of collections for the exhibition catalog for which he is the editor.  Dr. Mondragón also had time to do a quick survey of his area of interest, the Banks and Torres Islands of Vanuatu with Regenstein Collections Manager Christopher J. Philipp.  Philipp recorded Dr. Mondragón as he explained the uses, functions, and significance of many of the over 160 items from these island groups in northern Vanuatu.  Carlos also informed the Museum that there has been a change in plans and that the "Moana" Exhibition is now scheduled to open at the Nave Lewis in Monterrey and then travel at the Museum of Anthropology in México City.

March 27 and 28, 2009 — Dr. Ramón P. Santos (Executive Director, University of the Philippines Center for Ethnomusicology) and Monica Santos (Ph.D. student at University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana)

Collections managers Christopher J. Philipp and Jamie Kelly hosted a visit to the Museum’s extensive collections from the Philippine Islands by Dr. Ramón P. Santos and his daughter, Monica Santos.  It was Dr. Santos’ intent to examine the over 300 musical instruments in the collection for the purpose of comparing these, mostly turn of the century instruments, with those, mostly dating to the 1950s, at the University of the Philippines Center of Ethnomusicology.  With limited time and since the collections were so rich, the group only looked at about one third of the musical instruments in the storerooms.  However, while visiting the Oversize storeroom in the Collections Resource Center, Dr. Santos and his daughter were shown a percussion beam from Palawan that Dr. Santos had not previously encountered.  Afterwards the group visited the records room and Philipp pulled out a photo taken in 1908 by the collector, Fay Cooper-Cole, of the same musical instrument illustrating the women who played this instrument. According to Dr. Santos, this instrument is most likely not being made or used currently.  Dr. Santos and his daughter also met with the Pacific Island and Southeast Asia Curatorial Team curators, Dr. Anne Underhill and Dr. John Terrell and also had time to visit Ruatepupuke II with Philipp.  This was hopefully the first of many interactions to come between the Field Museum and the University of the Philippines Center for Ethnomusicology - www.upethnom.com.


February 17 and 20, 2009  — Dr. Pauline Van Der Zee (University of Ghent, Arts Sciences, Belgium)

Dr. Van Der Zee, while visiting the United States for a conference in Minneapolis, decided to pay us a visit to see what we have in our Pacific collections.  She toured the collections with Regenstein Collections Manager Christopher J. Philipp and was overwhelmed by the quantity of material (2,222 objects) from her area of interest; West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), Indonesia.  She also had lunch with Philipp and Dr. John Terrell.  She also scheduled a return visit later in the week in order to look at just a few pieces of particular interest; a mbis pole and parts of a men's initiation house brought to the Museum in the 1991 and  given to the Field Museum by yayasan kemajuan dan pengembangan asmat (The Asmat Progress and Development Foundation) as well as older figural house parts collected by A.B. Lewis between 1909 and 1913.  We expect to hear back from Dr. Van Der Zee in the near future as there just wasn't time to look at all of the pieces of interest in such a short amount of time!

February 16-17, 2009 — Mark Kent (Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand) 

Mark Kent, an object support preparator in mountmaking stopped by to visit Ruatepupke II on his way from Wichita, Kansas, where he was installing the Whales exhibit from Te Papa, to Canada.  While here he also toured the Pacific collections with Regenstein Collections Manager Christopher J. Philipp to see the new CRC storage facility, and met with Regenstein Conservator J.P. Brown, and Pam Gaible, the head of our exhibition's mount shop.


February 12, 2009 —Tobias Sperlich (Department of Anthropology, University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada)

Tobias Sperlich was here to study whale tooth necklaces from Western Polynesia in an attempt to establish diagnostics to determine between historical and cultural.  While here he looked at about 10 such necklaces in storage with Regenstein Collections Manager Christopher J. Philipp.  He also met with and had lunch with Dr. John Terrell.

November 18-21, 2008 — Vincent H. Stefan, Ph.D., D-ABFA (Department of Anthropology, Herbert H. Lehman College - CUNY)

Dr. Stefan visited the Museum in order to conduct research on some of the Museum's Pacific Island material, specifically from Polynesia (Easter Island and the Marquesas Islands), Micronesia (Marianas Islands), and Vanuatu.  

November 13, 2008 — Alice Pomponio, Ph.D. (St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY)


Dr. Pomponio visited the Field Museum’s Pacific collections with Regenstein Curator Dr. John Terrell and Regenstein Collections Manager Christopher J. Philipp to see the new CRC storage facility and our holdings in the Tami/Siassi collections from the Huon Gulf region.  Dr. Pomponio shared several intersting stories regarding her fieldwork in the region.  The group came across several gems in the collections, some of which may lead to further investigation, including a pillow that was collected from the family with whom Dr. Pomponio had  lived while in the area, as well as a mask of tapa cloth (malo in Mutu) the likes of which Dr. Pomponio had never seen before.

October 6-10, 2008 — Raffaela Cedraschi (Museo Nacional de las Culturas / National Institute of Anthropology and History, México City, México)

Dr. Cedraschi explored the Field Museum’s Pacific collections with Regenstein Collections Manager Christopher J. Philipp during this weeklong visit in hopes of finding appropriate pieces to request for loan for the proposed temporary exhibit on Pacific themes in collaboration with the Field Museum and Te Papa Tongarewa.  Their selection process was informed by the meetings held the week prior with Sean Mallon, Carlos Mondragón, and Philipp, and was assisted by loans conservator Tina Gessler who provided consultation and conservation assessments. Dr. Cedraschi now has a list of over 200 items for possible inclusion in the planned exhibition in 2009 in Mexico City.


July 25, 2008 — Mr. and Mrs. David Pugh

The Department of Anthropology was recently paid a visit by Mr. and Mrs. David Pugh. Mrs. Betty Pugh, the granddaughter of Dr. Albert B. Lewis, and her husband were able to view many pieces collected by her grandfather between 1909 and 1913 while on the Joseph N. Field Expedition to German, British and Dutch New Guinea on display as well as behind the scenes in collections. Regenstein Collections Manager Christopher J. Philipp and Move Team Collections Assistant Niko Herzog hosted the visit that toured the Museum’s Exhibition Halls, Regenstein Laboratory, old PRL collections storage, new Collections Resource Center, and Department’s records room. Some stories were shared over lunch and photos exchanged regarding A. B. Lewis and his time before and after serving as curator at the Field Museum between 1908 and 1940. Mr. and Mrs. Pugh are currently in the process of donating 2 additional pieces that her grandfather collected while on the 1909-1913 Expedition to add to the Museums holdings of Pacific material culture.

May 17, 2008 — Eruera Wharehinga (Te Whanau-a-Ruataupare, Tokomaru Bay) and Arapata Hakiwai (Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington)

Both were revisiting the marae and our collections (they were here with everyone else who came from Aotearoa in April 2007 to participate in the 125th Anniversary Celebrations honoring Ruatepupuke II) as part of the "Close Encounters" hui on the 15th-17th of May.

May 12, 2008 — Mandy Treagus, Ph.D. (University of Adelaide)

Dr. Treagus briefly visited the Museum's Polynesian collections to do further research on H. J. Moors and the touring group he organized for the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. She was interested in finding out what the Museum received from this group and in viewing those objects. Dr. Treagus discovered that 28 artifacts were originally accessioned from the Oceanic Trading Company (our Accession No. 11) after the World's Columbian Exposition, 23 of which are still in the Museum's holdings (other items such as a 16' long canoe were later exchanged with Museums as far away as Brooklyn). These items still in the Museum included Samoan kava bowls, slit drums, and bamboo pillows. Dr. Treagus shared with us that the touring group organized by Moors was not exclusively Samoan and included other Islanders from around the Pacific.

April 21, 2008 — Robert J. Foster, Ph.D. (University of Rochester)

In 1939 the Buffalo Museum of Science (New York) fostered an official exchange with The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Buffalo exchanged 134 pieces of Melanesian material culture from their P. G. Black Collection (our Accession No. 2210) for 45 Field Museum objects from Indonesia and Melanesia.  Interested in the former collection and The Field Museum's current holdings of shell money from Melanesia, Dr. Robert J. Foster of the University of Rochester visited the Museum in April to see our collections firsthand.  He also gave us a copy of his 1995 publication entitled Social Reproduction and History in Melanesia: Mortuary ritual, gift exchange, and custom in the Tanga Islands.

April 2018 - Grant McCall (University of Sydney)

McCall said of his visit to the Field: "[At the Bishop Museum there are] photographs... taken by Percy Henry Edmunds, manager of the sheep ranch on Rapanui between 1904 and 1929. The photographs appear to have begun as a hobby by Edmunds in about 2011, as judged by my informants according to the ages of those in the photographs. So, I am interested in particular in any correspondence between [Captain A.W.F] Fuller and Edmunds as well as any artifacts commissioned by Fuller and organized by Edmunds. I want to write Edmunds’s story, along with other influential foreigners, who contributed both culturally and genetically to Rapanui since they came to settle there from ca. 1866 onwards."

December 2017 - Jocelyn Bardot (University of Melbourne, Museums Victoria)

Jocelyn Bardot visited the Field to work on a PhD project entitled ‘Re-assembling Indigenous Collections: Understanding the dispersal of Dja Dja Wurrung (Australia) and Haida (Canada) material culture.' Bardot sought to identify objects that have connections to Dja Dja Wurrung people among Victorian and unprovenanced materials in the Field's collections.

December 2017, November 2018 - Lauren Booker (University of Sydney)

Lauren Booker undertook research on Australian aboriginal materials, and associated records, from the Fuller and University of Melbourne collections. Her ultimate goal is to begin an international index of these types of materials in overseas institutions.

April 2018 - Ngarino Ellis (University of Auckland)

Dr. Ellis examined Maori objects of personal adornment, including waka huia, papahou, and ornaments made of wood, bone, stone and greenstone.  This trip to the Field was part of Dr. Ellis's research for a book on Maori body adornment. 

June 2018 - Taloi Havini

On June 13th, 2018, Regenstein Collections Manager Christopher Philipp and Collections Assistant Julia Kennedy toured the Pacific Anthropology collections with artist Taloi Havini of the Solomon Islands. Havini was developing an installation for the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Australia. She came to the Field Museum to examine materials from the Solomon Islands, especially flying fox tooth currency (or paio in the Hakó language of Buka island.) Havini was also interested in a particular naturalistic carved male wooden figure and ceremonial wooden paddles. Because of her interest in flying fox teeth, Havini also met with Field Museum scientist Tyrone Lavery, who specializes in biogeography and speciation of northern Melanesian mammals. Curator John Terrell also introduced Havini to Ruatepupuke II, the museum’s Maori meeting house, before the end of her visit. 

September 2018 - Kosuke Dai

Kosuke Dai of Keio University, Tokyo, photographed materials from New Ireland. These objects came to the museum with the AB Lewis collection; through examination of the archives and photographic evidence, Mr. Dai was able to help us identify those that were originally collected by Isokichi Komine and subsequently sold to AB Lewis.