CWUNewsNews Folk Art Spotlighted in New Exhibition at CWU, 07 Apr 2016 08:26:39<p><img alt="" src="/museum/sites/" style="width: 162px; height: 250px; margin: 4px; float: left;">A unique collection of Mexican folk art, known as retablos and ex-votos, is now on display in Central Washington University’s Museum of Culture and Environment in Black Hall.</p><p>The art is part of a collection amassed by Antonio Sanchez, assistant director of government relations at Central Washington University. Retablos and ex-votos are religious images that are hand-painted by untrained artists on small, tin sheets.</p><p>Three-dozen pieces from Sanchez’s collection will be exhibited from April 7 until June 11. An opening reception will be held at the museum on Thursday, April 7, at 6:00 p.m. for the exhibition, which is called, “Miracles of Mexican Folk Art, Retablos and Ex-Votos.”</p><p>Sanchez, who has a PhD in anthropology, said he became attracted to the art form because of its significance to both the largely anonymous artists who created them as well as to the people who placed them in their homes.</p><p>“I started collecting in high school in 1970, and would save my money from picking and selling apples,” Sanchez said. “I continued my collecting and would travel into Mexico in search of these treasures. In those days, however, they were not considered treasures.”</p><p>Sanchez said he was particularly interested in these folk depictions of religious figures “because they were made by the common craftsman for common people to use in their everyday pleas for hope, health, wealth, protection from evil, and all of the mundane caveats of life.”</p><p>In addition to loaning part of his art collection for the exhibit, Sanchez, a former faculty member in the Department of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington, also contributed an essay on the history and cultural significance of Mexican folk art in the catalog for the show.</p><p>“As coveted objects of veneration, retablos were an integral and intimate part of the Mexican family,” Sanchez noted in his essay. “They are the testimony of faith of the individual, his community, and the entire Mexican nation.”</p><p>Sanchez said retablos were produced in large numbers by Mexican artists from the late 18th century until the early 20th century. They were usually painted in oil on recycled tin sheets that had originally been made for use as ceiling tiles and for other commercial purposes.</p><p>Retablos usually depict just a deity or saint while ex-votos contain images of an event which the persons is asking for a miracle or thanking the saint or deity for an answer to their prayers.&nbsp; The ex-votos will vary widely in their themes while the retablos will depict the saint or deity almost the same each time.</p><p>Growing up in New Mexico, Sanchez said he was surrounded by the art in his family’s home. He described his mother as the “keeper of the saints” and said she regularly “would nurture and pray to each and every image.”</p><p>He said it was from his mother that he learned the traditions surrounding the images, which inspired him to want to know more about their history and meaning.</p><p>“I became interested in how they were made, why particular images were more common, in what ways these special folk images deviated from the high art found in the churches and cathedrals, and how they became ‘Mexicanized’ by local craftspeople,” he said. “Their story is unique, distinctly Mexican/Mestizo, and hold the key to better understanding this one special part of Mexican history.”</p><p>Over the years Sanchez has acquired approximately 500 retablos and ex-votos. His complete collection numbers nearly 3,000 artifacts, including milagros (folk charms), rosary beads, and a 17th century missal (a book of prayers and instructions used during the Catholic liturgical year).</p><p>Sanchez said his hope for the show is that students, especially those of Latin heritage, will see their history and heritage taken seriously, in a museum setting.</p><p>“I wanted to bring this world-class teaching exhibition to CWU to help leave a footprint on our mission to develop a world-class education at Central,” he said. “It’s a way to build the Latino/Latina culture into the very DNA of this campus, so all students can learn and appreciate it.”</p><p>For more information about the exhibition, contact Lynn A. Bethke, collections manager, Museum of Culture and Environment, 509-963-2313,</p><p>Media contact: Rich Moreno, director of content development, 509-963-2714,<br>&nbsp;</p></br>Four Powerful Exhibits Open at the Museum Of Culture And Environment October 1, 30 Sep 2015 13:56:26<p>The four new exhibits opening at the Museum of Culture and Environment will excite your imagination and touch your soul. The opening reception will take place October 1, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in Dean Hall at Central Washington University.</p><p><em><img alt="" src="/museum/sites/" style="width: 165px; height: 165px; margin-left: 6px; margin-right: 6px; float: left;">Pluto and New Horizons</em> allows you to explore the outer reaches of our solar system in the exhibit on New Horizons, the robotic spacecraft that has sent back stunning images and data about Pluto.&nbsp; Astronomy Professor Bruce Palmquist will explain NASA’s latest discoveries about Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, a vast region beyond the orbit of Neptune. Planetary scientist Darci Snowden will report on NASA’s brand new discovery of running water on Mars.</p><p>In <em>Touring the Solar System</em>, Museum Studies students have installed a campus-wide map of the solar system. Our sun is represented by an object the size of a baseball (just three inches wide) hanging at the MCE’s entrance. At a scale of 1:18,560,000,000 that means Pluto is located 1,038 feet away in the Art Department in Randall Hall. Students will celebrate with an “inter-planetary” procession that starts in the Art Department at 6:00 pm, heading into the inner solar system in Dean Hall.</p><p><em><img alt="" src="/museum/sites/" style="width: 270px; height: 165px; margin-left: 6px; margin-right: 6px; float: right;">Elwha: A River Reborn</em> takes you to the Northwest’s legendary Elwha River Valley to discover the people, places, and history behind a remarkable local story—and the largest dam removal project ever undertaken.*</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em><img alt="" src="/museum/sites/" style="width: 248px; height: 165px; margin-left: 6px; margin-right: 6px; float: left;">The Penitent </em>by artist Chris Heard presents 15 haunting images from Eastern State Penitentiary (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), the birthplace of the modern American prison system. This exhibition is part of the university-wide year of dialogue, <a href="">Mass Incarceration and Racial Violence: Black and Brown Lives Do Matter</a>.</p><p>The event is free and open to the public. Parking in CWU lots is free after 4:30 p.m. and on weekends, except in specially designated spaces (handicapped, loading) and in residence hall lots.</p><p>The Museum for Culture and Environment is open Wednesday through Friday, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information got to There is no admission charge.</p><p>*<em>Elwha: A River Reborn</em>, based on a Mountaineers book of the same name by Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes and photographer Steve Ringman, was developed by the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in collaboration with The Seattle Times, Mountaineers Books, and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. National touring sponsor: The Snoqualmie Tribe.</p><p><br>Media Contact: Professor Mark Auslander, Museum Director,, 509-963-3213</p><p>&nbsp;</p></br>Philippines Art and Culture Featured at CWU Museum, 06 Apr 2015 12:50:08<p><span style="line-height: 1.4;">A new exhibition on the indigenous arts of the Philippines will open at </span>CWU’s<span style="line-height: 1.4;"> Museum of Culture and Environment at 5:30 p.m. on April 9. </span><em style="line-height: 1.4;">Binding Culture: Living Landscapes and Material Life in Northern Luzon, Philippines</em><span style="line-height: 1.4;"> is co-organized by anthropologist Ellen </span>Schattschneider<span style="line-height: 1.4;"> (Brandeis University) and </span>CWU<span style="line-height: 1.4;"> museum collections manager Lynn </span>Bethke<span style="line-height: 1.4;">. The exhibit will be open through June 13.</span></p><p><em>Binding Cultures</em> celebrates the artistic brilliance and technological creativity of the peoples of the Philippines’ Cordillera region in Northern Luzon. The objects integrate practical functions and aesthetic power, illustrating the social and environmental adaptability of their creators in a rapidly changing world. Basketry and textiles created by artists from Kalinga, Ifugao and Bontoc indigenous communities are featured.</p><p>“We are delighted to be able to display these beautiful objects from the museum’s permanent collection, which showcase works of great technical sophistication and aesthetic mastery,” said Museum Director Mark Auslander. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Schattschneider, an associate professor of anthropology and women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, will speak on “Gender and Material Life in the Philippines,” during the opening reception on April 9. Schattschneider, a visual anthropologist, will draw on her own experiences living and working with indigenous women fabric artists in the highlands of the northern Philippines. Filippino food and refreshments will be served during the reception.</p><p>The museum is on the first floor of Dean Hall. It is open 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.</p><p><strong style="line-height: 1.4;"><em>Media contact:</em></strong><em style="line-height: 1.4;"> Mark Auslander, CWU Museum Director, 509-963-3209,&nbsp;</em><em style="line-height: 1.4;"><a href="" style="line-height: 1.4;"></a></em></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.4;">April 6, 2015</span></p></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></em style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></strong style="line-height: 1.4;"></em style="line-height: 1.4;"></em style="line-height: 1.4;"></a href="" style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;">Traveling exhibit teaches the Facts on Composting, 06 Apr 2015 12:48:57<p><em style="line-height: 1.4;">Facts on Composting</em><span style="line-height: 1.4;">, a traveling exhibition developed by the Institute for </span>Neurotoxicology<span style="line-height: 1.4;"> and Neurological Disorders (</span>INND<span style="line-height: 1.4;">) in Seattle, is on display for the month of April at the Museum of Culture and Environment at Central Washington University.</span></p><p>Steven Gilbert, toxicologist and founder of INND, said the exhibit was developed to educate people about the benefits of composting. “We believe it is here to stay, but we know that there are downsides to living near facilities that are dealing with mass quantities of organic waste,” Gilbert said. “We wanted to give people a way to get involved—to know their rights as Washington citizens and who to talk to in order to help facilities be good neighbors.”</p><p>Composting is the act of recycling food waste and yard waste. It reduces the amount of refuse in landfills and produces soil supplement, which helps plants grow and prevents erosion. <em>Facts on Composting</em> explains the science of composting and shows how compost is produced at a commercial facility.</p><p>“We are excited to display this important, user-friendly show, which helps visitors of all ages appreciate the fascinating science behind composting,” said Mark Auslander, director of the CWU museum.</p><p>The exhibit also provides practical tools for the civically engaged. Although beneficial on a broad scale, commercial composting facilities can pose challenges in their communities, such as odor, bioaerosols, and volatile organic compounds. Viewers can learn about the anatomy of odor and how to report nuisance odor to local health authorities, among other things.</p><p>As part of the exhibit, which runs through April 30, Gilbert will give a talk called "Composting: Making Dirt for Earth Week,” at 5:30 p.m. April 23. The museum is on the first floor of Dean Hall. It is open 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.</p><p>INND is&nbsp;a nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about toxic chemicals and environmental health. The <em>Facts on Composting </em>exhibit is the result of a Public Participation Grant from the state Department of Ecology. For more information abut compositing and INND, visit <a href=""></a>.</p><p><em><strong>Media contact:</strong> Mark Auslander, CWU Museum Director, 509-963-3209,&nbsp;</em><a href=""><em></em></a></p><p>April 6, 2015</p></em style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></span style="line-height: 1.4;"></a href="">KIMA TV on the Museum's Homelessness exhibtion, 01 Apr 2015 19:04:48<p>See Crystal Bui's report, on KIMA TV, on the Museum of Culture and Environment's exhibition on Homelessness during Winter 2015:</p><p><a href=";c=y">;c=y</a></p>Museum Studies Students Develop 'Explore Central' Mobile App, 16 Mar 2015 09:57:53<p>A new app called Explore Central incorporates photos, videos, and audio recordings to give users a detailed tour of campus and the Ellensburg community. The free app was created by CWU Museum Studies students and Computer Science students. It is available for android devices on the <a href=";hl=en">Google Play Store</a>.</p><p>See full story at:</p><p><a href=""></a>cwu-students-develop-explore-central-mobile-app</p>CWU Museum discussed in the national journal "The Fix", 20 Feb 2015 05:59:58<p>The CWU Museum of Culture and Environment is discussed in the Feb, 20, 2015 issue of The Fix, a national journal of addiction and recovery. The article discusses the Museum's hosting of "<em>Righteous Dopefiend: Homelessness, Addiction and Poverty in Urban America",</em> an exhibition from the Penn Museum, based on the research of anthropologists Jeff Schonberg and Philippe Bourgois.</p><p>Read the article, by journalist Zach Siegel, at:</p><p><a href=""></a></p>CWU Museum Studies Student co-author article on hosting "Righteous Dopefiend", 20 Feb 2015 05:53:30<p>CWU Museum Studies students --Brittany Anderson, Sarah Bair, Nicolas Crosby,&nbsp; and Barbara Hammersburg-- jointly co-authored an article, with Museum Studies faculty ark Auslander and J. Hope Amason, and with homeless community member Alexander McCrary,&nbsp; for the Centre for Imaginative Ethnography. The essay explore's the team's experience hosting the exhibition, "Righteous Dopefiend: Homelessness, Addiction and Poverty in Urban America, based on the research of anthropologists Philippe Bourgois and Jeff Schonberg.</p><p>Read the article at:</p><p><a href=""></a></p>CWU Grad Picked for Smithsonian Museum Internship, 26 Jun 2014 11:39:20<p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Hanna Person" src="/museum/sites/" style="width: 400px; height: 267px; margin: 5px;"></p><p>Hanna Person, who graduated this month from Central Washington University with a degree in anthropology, is headed to Washington, DC for a paid summer internship at the <a href="" target="_blank">Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Natural History</a>.</p><p>Person, who’s always been a natural history buff, chose CWU because of its anthropology program and museum studies minor and because she wanted to attend a small school. In addition to her classes, Person participated in a five-day field course at Mount Rainier and assisted in multiple exhibit installations at CWU’s <a href="" target="_blank">Museum of Culture and Environment</a>. She says the experiences helped her land the Smithsonian internship, as did the great recommendation from Mark Auslander, professor of anthropology and museum studies and director of the CWU museum.</p><p>“She's extremely hard working, very creative, and takes a good deal of initiative,” Auslander said about Person. When he learned the Smithsonian might be looking for an intern to help organize its Rastafarian collection, he didn’t hesitate to recommend Person to Jake Homiak, director of the collections and archives program at the Museum of Natural History.</p><p>“Internships like this at the Smithsonian are extremely competitive, but my museum studies colleagues and I had no doubt that Hanna would be a very strong candidate,” Auslander said. “We are just thrilled for Hanna.”</p><p>Person will help register and accession the museum's collection of global Rastafarian material culture, working under Homiak, a noted scholar of Afro-Caribbean religions.</p><p><strong>'A quiet adventure'</strong></p><p>“I realize that, for most people, being in the back room and handling the objects is pretty boring. But for me it’s interesting,” Person said. “It’s a little mystery. You’re learning about the object, you’re handling it; it’s like a treasure hunt. A quiet adventure.”</p><p>Person was an intern at CWU’s Museum of Culture and Environment under collections manager Lynn Bethke, who said Person’s work and the work of other interns is vital to the operation of the museum.</p><p>“Hanna is a great student—always ready to take on new challenges, but also detail oriented; great attributes for anyone interested in museums,” Bethke said.</p><p>Person helped in multiple CWU exhibit installations, “writing text, mounting panels, installing objects, and doing all of the many little things that go into making an exhibit come to life,” Bethke said. “She also did a great deal of work processing a collection of baskets from the Philippines which was donated to us in 2012.”</p><p>The Museum of Natural History is right on the National Mall in the heart of the capital. Person hopes to visit as many museums as she can during her six-week stay in Washington, DC, and expects the experience to give her a better feel for museum collection and help her decide what sort of graduate studies she wants to take part in.</p><p>Person is a 2012 graduate of La Center High School and, thanks to Running Start, finished her four-year degree at CWU in just two years.</p><p><em><strong>PHOTO: </strong>Recent CWU graduate Hanna Person is pictured in the past exhibit "Where there's Smoke ... Living with Fire," at the Museum of Culture and Environment. T<em>he exhibit borrowed g</em>ear worn by wilderness firefighters <em>from the state Department of Natural Resources</em>. Person says her experience working at the CWU museum helped her land a paid internship at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC this summer.</em></p><p><strong>Media contact: </strong>Barb Arnott, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-2841, <a href=""></a></p><p>June 25, 2014</p></p style="text-align: center;"></a href="">CWU Museum exhibit How did the Cougar Cross the Road? opens April 17, 10 Apr 2014 14:06:09<p>April 8, 2014</p><p>ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Central Washington University’s Museum of Culture and Environment will host an opening reception for its latest exhibit,<em> How did the Cougar Cross the Road? Restoring Wildlife Passages at Snoqualmie</em> Pass, at 5:30 p.m. April 17.</p><p>Refreshments will be served as visitors explore the brand new exhibit that tells the story of wildlife connectivity corridors linking animal populations formerly divided by Interstate 90. Follow in the footsteps of native fauna over a recreated wildlife overpass and discover how the cougar crosses the road, and how humans are helping.</p><p>A series of speakers including Yvonne Prater, author of <em>Snoqualmie Pass: From Indian Trail to Interstate</em>; Al Aronica (Kittitas Band of the Yakama Nation), Brian White (WSDOT), Jason Smith (WSDOT) and Patti Davis-Darda (USFS) will discuss their knowledge and research concerning the history of Snoqualmie Pass and its wildlife passages. For more information, go to</p><p>The Museum of Culture and Environment is at CWU on the first floor of Dean Hall, 1200 N. D St., in Ellensburg. The museum is open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Parking is free on the CWU campus after 4:30 p.m. and on weekends. For more information, email or call 963-2313.</p><p>Press contact: Sarah Jane Johnson, Central Communication Agency, 253-350-7322,</p>