Tozzer Library

Past Exhibitions

Native Life in the Americas: Artists' Views
May 4, 2011 - June 15, 2012
This exhibition showcases the work of important though not well-known artists who focused on Native American life and culture. On display are selected prints and books from the Tozzer Library collection, looking beyond the familiar 19th-century white male painters to include women artists, Native artists, and even one living artist. The exhibition also includes artists who were primarily illustrators, designers, and printmakers rather than painters.

Masked Festivals of Canton Bo (Ivory Coast), West Africa
May 2009 – January 2011
The festivals of Canton Bo, located in the dense forest region of eastern Liberia and western Ivory Coast, centered on the g'la, or the spirit forms of ancient ancestors who appeared in post-harvest festivals wearing carved masks and full body coverings of straw, animal hide, textiles and paint. Until 2002, the Bo people invited the sprits each year to protect their village against unknown threats, and to stimulate fertility for both women and crops. Through rare drawings and photographs, along with masks from the Peabody Museum collections, Masked Festivals explores the different kinds of spirit forms and their performances.

Remembering Awatovi: The Story of an Archaeological Expedition in Northern Arizona, 1935-1939
September 2008 – April 2009
“Remembering Awatovi” goes behind the scenes of the last archaeological expedition of its kind at this ancient site. Part history of archaeology and part social history, the exhibit reveals what the archaeologists found in the village of Awatovi with its beautiful kiva murals and church, and how the archaeologists lived in “New Awatovi,” the camp they built for themselves beside the dig. The written and photographic records of “New Awatovi” add a new dimension to the discoveries of the dig itself.

Feeding the Ancestors: Tlingit Carved Horn Spoons
April 2007 – March 2008
This exhibition presented a selection of carved spoons made and collected in the 1800s. At the time, the Tlingit elite used spoons like these to serve food at ceremonies, simultaneously sustaining themselves and the ancestral beings carved on the handles. The interpretations and stories presented derive from collaborations among scholars, tribal historians, carvers, and other students of Tlingit material culture.

Codices, Chimpanzees, and Curanderas, From the Field to the Shelf: Celebrating Tozzer Library’s Quarter Millionth Volume
September 2006 – April 2007
Tozzer Library began as the Peabody Museum Library in 1866 with a gift of $150,000 from George Peabody, to be apportioned to a building fund, a professor fund, and a collections fund, the latter to be used to acquire and preserve both objects and books. That Mr. Peabody envisioned an anthropology library may be considered prescient, since as Peabody Museum Director J.O. Brew wrote in 1966, “The Library did not begin so impressively as did the [object] collections and research program. This is understandable in a new field which, in 1866, was not even established as a respectable academic subject. There were few books in anthropology, and the people who were to write them were busily at work in the field or, for the most part, still unborn.” (One Hundred Years of Anthropology, edited and with an introduction by J.O. Brew, 1968) 000933989

In 2006, one hundred and forty years after George Peabody funded his archaeology and ethnology museum and library at Harvard, Tozzer Library reached a milestone with the addition of the 250,000th volume to the collection.
The Quarter-Millionth Volume

A Noble Pursuit: The Duchess of Mecklenburg Collection from Iron Age Slovenia
April – September 2006
Exhibition featured 34 selected items from the Peabody Museum's Mecklenburg collection, the only excavated European Iron Age (800 B.C.–A.D. 1) collection located outside of Europe. It also highlighted the extraordinary woman who excavated it in the early decades of the 20th century, Duchess Paul Friedrich of Mecklenburg, a pioneer in European archaeology who used her imperial connections, family wealth, local knowledge, and personal charm to overcome the prejudices of her age and win the respect of her male colleagues.

Gifts of the Great River: Arkansas Effigy Pottery from the Edwin Curtiss Collection
June 2005 – March 2006
Exhibition featured examples of Arkansas effigy pottery collected by Edwin Curtiss in the 19th century.

Bringing Japan to Boston: The Edward S. Morse Collection
May 2004 – April 2005
Exhibition featured pottery from the Heian through Edo periods, hats, shoes, Ainu prayer sticks, noh masks, and architectural models—items collected specifically for Harvard's Peabody Museum during the years 1877–79 by Edward S. Morse.

These Shoes Were Made for... Walking?
February 2003 – April 2004
Exploring footwear across cultures and ages, this exhibit featured a selection of 60 pairs of shoes, sandals, and boots from the Peabody Museum's extensive ethnographic collections, from the original sensible shoe to the heights and lengths of fashion.