Event — Co-curating our collections with Chicago communities took an historic leap forward on Monday evening, October 28th when museum staff formally "welcomed" the city's Filipino community at the marae (gathering place) of Ruatepupuke II (our New Zealand wharenui, or meeting house) as our new partners in the care, documentation, interpretation, exhibition, and financial support of the Museum's remarkable heritage collections of more than 10,000 items from the Philippines--most of which date before World War I. Speaking on behalf of the rest of the staff attending were J.P. Brown, Christine Giannoni, Jaap Hoogstraten, Debby Moskovits, Bill Stanley, and Monique Tarleton. Head of Anthropology Collections Jamie Kelly along with Gloria Levitt, Lisa Niziolek, Shelley Paine, and Amy Zillman from Collections and Science & Education were on hand with a table-top display of a fine selection of objects from different locales in the Philippines.
Event — "Ground Zero 360" remembering the vicitims of the attack at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 opens beside the marae at The Field Museum.Event — New interior lighting has been installed in the wharenui to make it easier to hold meetings in the house.Event — Renovations are complete, and the anti-glare blinds are installed.
Event — The walls are gone and four more of the exterior windows overlooking the marae (and Chicago) were also opened when they were taken down.
Event — All of the taonga that had been placed on the gallery wall have now been remove in preparation for taking down the gallery wall and extending the marae into the entire hall. The taonga are being relocated to be nearer the wharenui.
Event —As part of renovation work in neighboring halls, the old fan coils and air conditioning system below the windows overlooking the marae are being removed so that the bottom half of the windows can be unblocked to give a more panoramic view of Chicago from the marae atea.
Event — Unblocking six of the exterior windows overlooking the marae. Now visible outside from the wharenui are some of Chicago's new high-rise buildings near the Museum Campus as well as the famous Sears Tower in the farther distance.
The carpet on the marae was also removed at this time and the floor where it had been has been painted, both of which have now clearly mark where the marae atea in front of Ruatepupuke is located within the gallery space.
Event — Professor John Terrell and six undergraduate students from Northwestern University met on the marae of Ruatepupuke II and in Dr. Terrell's laboratory on the 3rd floor of the Museum to discuss the past, present, and future of the people of the Pacific Islands. As noted in the course syllabus:
In the eyes of most people, including most anthropologists, the Pacific Islands are marginal places too far off the beaten Path to Civilization to matter much in human history or current affairs. The irony, of course, is that their widely supposed irrelevance also makes them for many of us far more than ordinary places. Centuries ago their remove from the established seats of European and Asian power and prestige turned these islands into mystical, even magical, places. And today their seeming otherworldliness still frames how these tropical islands are seen in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Fantasy and palm trees alike may be the stuff of modern island tourism, however self-serving or Habitat for Humanity® International. Yet there is much more to these small places than meets the eye, and for anthropologists, their human and environmental realities may not only disturb, but can also destroy some of our most cherished Euro-American myths and prejudices.
In a course as short as this one, we will only be able to explore some of the multiple dimensions of the latest scholarship—much of it only recently or as yet unpublished—on what it both means and has meant for thousands of years to be a Pacific Islander—and why the rest of the world would do well to pay attention.
Event — "Close Encounters," a meeting of minds, or rather a hui (gathering) for artists—four from Aotearoa (Daniel du Bern, Maddie Leach, Lisa Reihana, and Wayne Youle) and four from the U.S.A. (Tania Bruguera, Walter Hood, Truman Lowe, and Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle )—that looked at how place, art, and community intersect. This initial phase of the project was supported by Creative New Zealand.
The three day meeting was organized and curated by Chuck Thurow (Executive Director of the Hyde Park Art Center) and Bruce E. Phillips (an independent curator from New Zealand). The artists participating will later develop projects inspired by the hui discussions that will be shown at the Hyde Park Art Center in 2009 - 2010.
Also participating in the hui by invitation were Arapata Hakiwai (Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington) and Eruera Wharehinga (Tokomaru Bay). Among the tangata whenua on the marae welcoming the artists and others to Ruatepupuke II were Joe Podlasek (Executive Director of the American Indian Center, Chicago) and Ray ("Skip") Sandman (a traditional healer from the Fon du Lac reservation in Minnesota).
29 July 2008
Event — A Marae Ruatepupuke II Docent Meeting was held at the wharenui so that current Maori house docents and staff could be updated about new projects associated with Ruatepupuke II, form a general discussion about using marae for educators, and have the opportunity to talk with Ngāti Porou member Corrall Shavers .
Considered an important project, Field Museum's Mary Ann Bloom led the disussion about the creation of a marae guidepage or laminate similar to the one used with T-Rex Sue. Questions were raised with regard to what information would be most pertinent on the laminate guides according to questioned asked to docents, which graphics would most help recreate a living marae, and how such a doctument could be produced with the approval of both the marae at The Field Museum and Marae Te Hono Ki Rarotonga, Pakirikiri in Tokomaru Bay.
Good progess was made with regards to standardizing answers given by docents to Museum guests about the marae and Maori culture. The meeting was closed with Corrall singing Ngāti Porou songs inside her ancestoral wharenui.
Event — Field Ambassador Expedition
Forty teachers from primary and secondary schools in the Chicago area met with John Terrell and Emilia Ralston, a Conservation Division intern, at Ruatepupuke to learn about Chicago’s Marae. The event was part of the Museum’s Field Ambassador programs sponsored by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
Event — Further renovation work at the Marae. The walls of the gallery, formerly a warm but dark yellow-brown, are now pale green. The ceiling, also formerly the same brown, is now black to be less noticeable. Glare-reducing blinds are now on the windows to be raised and lowered needed. There is now also new flooring on the marae atea covering the painted old prefabricated concrete slabs.