Speakers to Visit Anthropology 270

August 30, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Dr. Jonathan E. Reyman and Michael Wiant will be featured speakers for the Anthropology 270 course, Museums, Representation, and Cultural Property: Anthropological Perspectives. This course meets Mondays and Fridays at 11:00 a.m. and is taught by adjunct faculty member Linda Giles. The class explores the history and practices of museums and collectors, including explorer and geologist John Wesley Powell. 

Powell, a one-armed Civil War veteran, and founder of the National Geographic Society, joined IWU’s faculty in 1865. He was the first U.S. professor to use fieldwork to teach science, and in 1867, took IWU students to Colorado’s mountains—the first expedition of its kind in the history of American higher education. Inspired by Powell, this class will take frequent field trips, and will include projects with various local museums and collections.

On both Friday, September 7 and Friday, September 28 Reyman will speak to the class, and Wiant will speak on Monday September 24th. All presentations will take place at 11:00 a.m. in the Beckman Auditorium on the lower level of The Ames Library (#1 Ames Plaza, Bloomington) and are free and are open to the public.

The curator of anthropology at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, Reyman was previously professor of anthropology at Illinois State University, and visiting professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is an award-winning teacher, and author of more than 150 professional publications. He also recently received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to create the educational Web site, “Of Time and the River: 12,000 Years of Human Use of the Illinois River.”

Reyman’s talk on September 7 will cover the significant increase in controversies surrounding museums, museum collections, materials museums choose to exhibit, and how museum exhibits are constructed. His presentation will also examine the importance of museums in today’s society, and how they can create unique cultural conversations.

On September 28 Reyman will address the John Wesley Powell Collection in The Ames Library, which he assisted with during the curation process. He will look at John Wesley Powell’s systematic exploration of the American West by natural and social scientists, and the research program that makes up his collection in The Ames Library.

Michael Wiant’s talk on the September 24 will also cover the topic of John Wesley Powell. He will discuss Powell’s influence in the building of the 130-year-old Illinois State Museum as well as consider the life and times of John Welsey Powell in central Illinois. Wiant will reflect on Powell’s methods of novel field courses, and the visionary scholar that he was.

Wiant received his M.A. and Ph.D in anthropology from Northwestern University. Trained in Midwestern archaeology, he has for more than 35 years explored the 12,000 year- long history of Native Americans in Illinois. He has held such positions as the curator and chair of the Anthropology Section at the Illinois State Museum in Dickson Mounds, as well as interim director at the Illinois State Museum in Dickson Mounds.

Wiant, who was appointed museum director at the Illinois State Museum in 2003, teaches a course on Museum Studies as an adjunct faculty member at Illinois State University. His interest in John Wesley Powell developed while researching the Illinois Natural History Society and a museum established in Old Main at Illinois State University. 

Contact: Kimberly Stabosz, (309) 556-3181