During the pandemic, UNM had moved to limited operations. This included closing the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology to the public. The museum is located on the central campus, west of the duck pond. I have found myself in the museum two or three times to check out the exhibits. The museum is free for everyone, not just UNM students and they accept donations. As Maxwell closed its doors to the public’s in-person visits, they have added to their online exhibits.
The Online Exhibits
The current exhibits they have are “COVID-19: Concepts of Sickness and Wellness,” “2019 Chile Wars,” “Chinese Americans in New Mexico,” “China Then and Now,” and “Heritage New Mexico.” Each exhibit is opened on a new webpage. The exhibits layouts differ but most have multiple pages of information and images about the topic.
COVID-19: Concepts of Sickness and Wellness
The coronavirus exhibit was really cool to read about. The exhibit focuses on sickness and wellness throughout history and asks for the readers’ individual story. It also provides updates and pictures of current statistics and events associated with the pandemic today. The most interesting articles to me were under sickness where they included articles from The Navajo Times on previous epidemics.
I found the images depicting wellness dances such as The Grass Dance or The Jingle Dance super interesting. There was even a video of the Jingle Dress Dance. I also really liked learning how colonization led to the spread of disease (specifically the Rio Grande Drainage). All the pages include references which are great to use to do even more research. A really neat touch to the exhibit was asking the readers for their own anecdote of living during the pandemic. They intend to eventually publish the response in the exhibit.
The museum also has really great links for expanding digital learning. Their education resources page has plenty of links and online print outs for home instruction. I checked out the “World Music and Folk Instruments” PDF which teaches the reader to make homemade instruments such as a rain stick or maracas. These print outs are in addition to some great handouts and worksheets that pertain to their museum exhibits and some interesting classroom curriculum and lesson plans.
I encourage you all to check an exhibit out. While we are all at home, teleworking, and social distancing, reading the articles and web pages associated with the online exhibits is a great way to pass time. Especially in a time where it seems like you can’t talk about anything else but what is in the news with friends or family, learning new facts from these exhibits can be a fun way to keep the conversation new and interesting.