July 29, 2008

Buffalo robe among museum’s fall exhibits

by Andrea Hahn


CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The fall 2008 semester exhibit season at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s University Museum opens Aug. 19 with a combination of exhibits that tell the story of America, but from very different viewpoints -- from Native American to contemporary.

One of the highlights of the fall exhibits is a buffalo robe, a treasure donated by the family of William McAndrew, SIUC’s first head football coach. The robe is a hair-on buffalo hide decorated on the smooth side with drawings that chronicle highlights of martial life among the Oglala Sioux. The robe dates to the 1860s through the 1870s. Scenes show warfare with the Crow people, including raiding parties returning with horses. Figures in Civil War uniforms show up in more recent illustrations on the same robe. Curator Lori Huffman said she is in consultation with experts at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center as she puts together the exhibit. The robe will be display until Dec. 12. An exhibit reception is set for 4 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 6.

A display of Kickapoo artifacts, curated by SIUC Center for Archaeological Investigations archaeologist Mark Wagner, runs through Sept. 26. Wagner is an expert in the prehistory and early history of Native Americans and Europeans in Illinois and the lower Ohio River Valley. The artifacts in this exhibit are from the Rhoads site village, formerly located on Kickapoo Creek in Logan County. Wagner said the Illinois Department of Transportation funded the excavations. Construction of Interstate 55 destroyed the site in the 1970s, but the village itself burned in 1813 by order of Illinois Gov. Ninian Edwards. The Kickapoo had abandoned the village before it was burned. The artifacts are on loan from the Illinois State Museum while SIUC archaeologists complete a report on the site. An exhibit reception is from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 6.

A collection of quilts made by Bessie Lutes and on loan from her family runs through Oct. 19. The exhibit includes nearly 30 quilts, all of them handmade and unique. Complementing the quilt exhibit in what University Museum Director Dona Bachman described as “Handmade Fall” is an exhibit of Southern Illinois weavers. Sylvia Greenfield, professor emerita from the SIUC School of Art and Design, curates the exhibit. It runs through Sept. 21. The reception for both these exhibits is from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 6.

SIUC alumnus, former professor and benefactor, Jerry Mileur recently donated his collection of political memorabilia to the University Museum. The collection includes items from the presidential campaigns of Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln. The exhibit runs through Nov. 4, coinciding with the last pitch of the current presidential campaign. Mileur established the Ward Morton and David Kenney Public Affairs Lecture Series and served on the SIU Alumni Association Board of Directors, the SIU Foundation Board of Directors and the SIUC College of Liberal Arts Advisory Council. A reception for the exhibit is from 4 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 10.

Robert DeHoet, education director for the museum, curates the “Formulation, Articulation” exhibit highlighting the work of Josef Albers (1888-1976). Albers is most famous as an abstract painter and theorist. The exhibit will see members of the campus community responding with their own artistic expression to Albers’ work. The exhibit -- an ongoing project, really -- runs through May 8, 2009. A reception is set for 4 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 26.

Other exhibits rounding out the fall 2008 schedule have staggered start dates. Watch for the well-received L. Brent Kington: Mythic Metalsmith exhibit beginning Nov. 14; the annual combined faculty exhibit beginning Nov. 7; an exhibit to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights beginning on Oct. 6 and several MFA exhibits throughout the fall.

Admission to the museum is free, but donations are welcome. The museum is closed Aug. 2 through Aug. 18.