family first museum

Maria Lindsay sets up an area to make watercolor snowflakes on Thursday, in preparation of the Family First Saturday event at the USU anthropology museum.

The USU Museum of Anthropology is kicking off the new year by showcasing a traveling exhibit in the monthly Family First Saturday event on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The current exhibit is titled “Archaeology Out Of Ice” and is about the discoveries that come from ice patches high in the mountains due to environmental changes.

“I like learning in informal settings,” said Molly Cannon, the museum director, “and museums are great places for that; we get to tell stories with objects.”

Each of the exhibits are open to the public during regular museum hours, but on the first Saturday of each month, demonstrations and more interactive learning opportunities are provided.

Cannon said people need a place to come together and understand one another. That has been part of her vision since she became the director in 2016.

“We hope to spread awareness of different cultures, the diversity of human experience and do so with objects,” Cannon said.

Established in 1963, the museum has seen many directors, students, patrons and exhibits come and go. 2019 was the first year the museum hosted traveling exhibits, all of which touch on some of the top concerns of our society at this time, Cannon said.

The first exhibit, she said, gave a nod to the passage of the 19th Amendment. This focus on a woman’s right to vote was followed by an exhibit about Mendez v. Westminster, the 1947 federal court case that desegregated California schools. The final traveling exhibit, which is currently displayed, highlights environmental change and its effect on archaeological discovery.

Cannon said after this exhibit leaves on Jan. 13, the museum will feature student-curated work followed by an exhibit of Islamic carpets.

“This museum began as just a series of exhibit cases in the basement of Old Main,” Cannon said, “and it has grown into what you can see here today.”

Women’s rights, race and environmental issues are all topics which create much debate and discussion on campus, around the valley and throughout the world.

Celeste Hernandez, a freshman at USU, found her way into the museum for the very first time a few months ago. A couple people were milling around but immediately the posters and information that lined the walls drew her in.

Growing up, Hernandez only visited museums on school trips and always wanted to be somewhere closer to that kind of learning environment.

“It is cool that there is a spot here that I can go to and learn,” Hernandez said. “I just get to walk through and learn something new; it is just as easy as that.”

Cannon said the museum has become an important place of discussion and discovery for families and individuals in the community.

The museum is located on the second floor of Old Main at USU. More information about the museum can be found at https://anthropology.usu.edu/museum.

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