Archaeological Initiative Awarded Prestigious Honor
April 10, 2022
The Society for American Archaeology, the leading archaeological association in North America, has awarded its highest honor for archaeological curation to the IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The Award for Excellence in Curation and Collection Management was awarded to the museum on Friday, April 1, 2022.
“It is an honor to be recognized by the Society for American Archaeology for the dedicated work the archaeology lab students and staff are doing to organize, preserve, and make accessible the Angel Mound site’s rich documentary and archaeological collections,” said Melody Pope, Curator of Archaeology for the IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
The award recognizes the museum’s “Angel Mounds Initiative,” a multi-year project focused on improving storage, access, research, exhibition, and interpretation of collections from the Angel Mound site, an important archaeological site located near Evansville, Indiana. The museum’s holdings from the site include millions of artifacts dating between A.D. 1050 and 1450.
The award also highlights the work of staff and students stating, “This group of archaeologists and information specialists has worked over the past seven years to apply best practices in curation for one of the oldest and most significant collections in Eastern North America. Through a multi-pronged effort that included university and state support, federal grants, student work, and collaboration with multiple groups, this collection is now establishing a benchmark for what smaller institutions across North America can achieve to improve preservation and access for legacy collections. It serves as an updated model for modern archaeological curation by integrating museum collections management, archaeological research, and public outreach efforts.”
The Angel Mounds Initiative has also helped the museum to increase interaction with descendant tribal nations that are connected to Angel Mounds. Partnerships and collaborations with members of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, the Quapaw Nation, the Osage Nation, the Shawnee Tribe, among other groups are driving the creation of a new exhibition on Angel Mounds that will be highlighted when the IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology opens in 2023.
A National Park Service ”Save America’s Treasures” grant, administered by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, helped to fund the project. The three-year grant was awarded to rehouse much of the Angel Mounds legacy collection. Additional federal, state and private funding were used to enhance the database management system, and establish a new museum with renovated collection facilities, research and teaching spaces, and exhibitions created in consultation with tribal partners.
“We are fortunate that the timing of the establishment of the museum dovetails nicely with the curation improvement grants", said Ed Herrmann, Executive Director of the IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. “The new museum significantly improves space utilization, storage conditions, and access to museum functions, while the grant improves collection and curation standards to ensure the long-term care of the IUMAA’s important and valuable collections.”
For more information on the IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, email email@example.com.
IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
The IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is Indiana University’s newest museum. Opening in 2023, the IUMAA will draw upon the strengths and rich collections of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology and the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. Together, these two collections of over 5 million artifacts span across a broad range of the human experience from Indiana’s first peoples to contemporary communities. Through cutting-edge technology and exhibition design, as well as special building features, the museum will provide visitors a new way of seeing its collections, exhibits, and programs--from the “inside-out.”
Society for American Archaeology
The SAA is an international organization that, since its founding in 1934, has been dedicated to research and protection of the archaeological heritage of the Americas. With nearly 7,000 members, the SAA represents professional and avocational archaeologists, archaeology students in colleges and universities, and archaeologists working at Tribal agencies, museums, government agencies, and the private sector.