New MPC exhibit: Returning to Bethlehem

The Middle East is more than a conflict zone—it’s a region of cultural beauty.

The BYU Museum of Peoples and Cultures‘ newest exhibit “Returning to Bethlehem: A Cultural Pilgrimage” highlights the unique religious and cultural aspects of life in Palestine, and Bethlehem in particular, that color the region’s history and guide local traditions and identity. The exhibit has visitors explore modern-day Bethlehem, as well as the historic cultural heritage sites shaped by Hebrew, Christian and Islamic traditions.

From olive wood and mother of pearl carvings, to intricately embroidered wedding costumes, the exhibit presents artistic pieces that illustrate the similarities and differences of the people from different regions and religions in Palestine including Bethlehem, Gaza and Jerusalem, among others.

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One of the central foci of the exhibit are traditional Palestinian wedding costumes. While wedding costumes share a similar design throughout Palestine, specific characteristics such as colors, embroidery stiles and ornaments are unique to each region. Certain aspects of Bethlehem’s culture are being lost due to regional conflict, but textiles help keep cultural traditions and identity alive.

The exhibit is a joint project between the Museum of Peoples and Cultures and the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation. Mother of pearl collections were loaned from Enrique Yidi Daccarett, olive wood carvings were loaned from the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation and costumes and textiles were loaned from Hanan and Farah Munayyer, co-founders of the Palestine Heritage Foundation.

People often go on pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Bethlehem to see and visit the holy sites, but Bethlehem is more than a place to visit—it’s a home for thousands of individuals and a beautiful culture.

Explore and better understand the culture, traditions and people of Bethlehem and Palestine at the MPC exhibit “Returning to Bethlehem: A Cultural Pilgrimage.” Learn about the rich ancient history that forms current arts and traditions today. As we inform ourselves on the diverse religious and cultural influences in Bethlehem, we’ll have a better understanding and respect for the people who live there, helping us make more informed decisions and opinions concerning the region.

The exhibit opens October 17, 2018 and will run through April 2018. Admission is free, and the exhibit is open to the public. The Museum of Peoples and Cultures is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information on the exhibit and other events and exhibits at the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, visit their website.

Getting work done: recent hands-on anthropology experience

Going through semester after semester of classes can be exhausting when you don’t have opportunities to apply what you’re learning to a career-applicable setting.

Determined not to settle in this grind, BYU Anthropology students have sought opportunities that have not only benefit their education, but that benefit the college as a whole.

Bringing Bethlehem to Provo

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Kelsey Ellis examines Palestinian textiles and embroideries.

One of the more recent hands-on experiences that anthropology students (specifically those involved in Museum Studies) have had was a trip to Washington D.C. There, students looked at and selected textile weavings from Palestine and objects made of mother-of-pearl and olive wood for the Museum of Peoples and Cultures upcoming exhibit on ancient Bethlehem. Some of the key pieces of the exhibit that students and faculty selected are rare bridal costumes from Bethlehem and the surrounding regions of the Holy Land. The  exhibit is schedule to will open fall 2018.

“A lot of these cultural traditions are being lost,” explained anthropology student Kelsey Ellis who went on the trip. “I’m grateful to work at a museum where, at least to some degree, we can be the refugee houses for cultural heritage.”

 

Doing research (and sharing it, too)

Closer to home, graduate students, alumni and faculty recently shared their expertise at the Utah Professional Archaeologists Council (UPAC). BYU’s presentations were focused on Utah archaeological research and discoveries about the ancient Fremont inhabitants.

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Spencer Lambert (right) and Joseph Bryce (left) present at UPAC.

At the Council, graduate student Spencer Lambert received the annual Student Sponsorship Award for having the best research abstract. His abstract was on strontium isotopic analysis, and at the Council he presented his thesis research on animal bones and Fremont hunting patterns.

Joseph Bryce, a BYU graduate, makes the powerful statement, “In archaeology, if you never tell anyone about what you’re doing, what good is it?”

Bryce’s commentary highlights the need to not only receive hands-on research experience, but also the pressing need to share what is learned in the process.

Learn what students in the social sciences have discovered in their recent research at the Fulton Mentored Student Research Conference on Thursday, April 12, 2018 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. in the Wilkinson Center Ballroom. The Mary Lou Fulton Endowed Chair in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences is pleased to host this event that is free and open to the public.