The Arizona State Museum at the University of Arizona, Tucson
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Please note that due to state budget cuts, ASM is now closed on Sundays. Arizona State Museum is located just inside the University of Arizona's Main Gate at Park Ave and University Blvd / 1013 E University Blvd / Tucson / (520) 621-6302.
Many Mexicos: Vistas de la Frontera
Opens November 19, 2010 at the Arizona State Museum on the University of Arizona campus. Mon Sat, 10 a.m. 5 p.m. The exhibit will run for two years. An accompanying four-part seminar series is scheduled for March 2011.
The exhibition opening November 19 at Arizona State Museum strives to interpret the broad sweep of Mexican history from the Pre-Columbian period to today’s political shouting matches, all from the perspective of Arizona and the borderlands.
“So important right now, visitors will make connections between the many histories of Mexico, seeing how our own backyard reflects the Mexican historical experience,” said Dr. Michael Brescia, exhibit curator. “In so many ways, the history of Arizona reflects off the mirror of the Mexican past.”
Brescia is associate curator of ethnohistory at Arizona State Museum, and associate professor of history at the University of Arizona, and co-author of two timely and relevant books on the history of Mexico.
Arizona’s borderlands -- that vast, contested space -- was the outer rim of Mesoamerica in the Pre-Columbian period and later evolved into the northern frontier of Spanish-Indian relations following the conquest of Mexico. Moreover, the establishment of the international border between the United States and Mexico in the mid- nineteenth century set the tone for subsequent cross-cultural contact and commercial exchange between individuals, local communities, and nation-states that continue today despite the debates currently raging over immigration. Indigenous and European, Asian and African, newcomers and those here for a long time, all form part of the cultural fabric that constitutes Mexico and, by extension, Arizona.
Brescia believes examining Mexico from the perspective of Arizona and the borderlands is relevant to all of us living in this state. “Now more than ever we can all benefit from a little historical perspective to temper political passions and illuminate the political and economic issues we face today with Mexico.” Indeed those interested in better understanding the United States’ relationship with Mexico will gain much from walking through the many Mexicos presented in this overview, from the complex societies of the Mayas and Aztecs to the arrival of Spanish conquistadors and missionaries to the drama of forging a nation-state during the 1800s in the face of foreign invasions and civil discord to the revolutionary call to arms from icons such as Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata.
Examples of the compelling objects and artwork that illustrate the varied Mexican histories include a Maya ritual corn vessel, Spanish colonial retablos, Santa Anna's sword and uniform, Maximilian's ring and Carlota's broach, and a sombrero that may well have belonged to Pancho Villa.
Community Group helps museum fill gaps
(University of Arizona, Tucson) Everyone needs friends. You can never have too many. That’s especially true when you’re an inadequately funded state institution. Arizona State Museum (ASM) has recently formed a group called the Friends of the ASM Collections. A sub-set of the museum’s general membership, folks who join the Friends work together to promote and strengthen the museum’s world-class collections. "The ethnological collections at ASM are indeed world class," notes curator Diane Dittemore. "However, for as long as I have been here we’ve been frustrated at our inability to actively collect important historic and contemporary works because we do not have a regular acquisitions budget. Friends of the ASM Collections has opened up a whole new world for us." Continue reading...
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