Envision: Using STEM to Investigate Ancient Cultures, at the MPC

Interact with Archeology at Museum of Peoples and Cultures New Exhibit

If you want to witness archeology in action you aren’t limited to watching Indiana Jones; you can be a part of it right on BYU’s campus at the Museum of Peoples and Cultures. See for yourself the math, science, and technology used to reveal the past in the Museum’s new exhibit Envision: Innovative Exploration in Archaeology.

Opening on Monday September 11, 2017 with a reception from 6:30-8:30 pm, individuals will be able to interact with technologies like the solar-powered supply trailer used in excavations and thermal imaging cameras, as well as learn about modern research methods. Visitors can complete circuits using a solar panel and simulate separating contaminants from DNA fragments. Families and individuals will see how STEM plays a part in archaeological exploration and innovation.

“We anticipate exhibition visitors will come to envision archaeology in new ways as they learn about the innovative trends in this field” said Brianna Selph, MPC Guest Services Assistant. Museum staff hope that all visitors will, through their interaction with the exhibit, come away equipped with the knowledge and tools to make connections between archaeology, STEM fields, and their own lives.

The Museum of Peoples and Cultures’ Mission is to “inspir[e] students to life-long learning.” Learn, experience, and understand archeology on a new level at Envision: Innovative Explorations in Archaeology, open September 11, 2017. This exhibit will provide ample hands-on experience to individuals looking to make connections between themselves, science, and the ancient peoples and cultures we continue to learn more about every day.

The exhibit, which will run until February 2018,  is free to the public. For more information about the exhibition or reception, visit mpc.byu.edu.

Museum of Peoples and Cultures Ranked Among Top 50 College Museums

BYU is known around the world for it sports and top notch law and business school. But, did you know it’s also renowned for its museums? College Values Online recently ranked BYU’s Museum of Peoples and Cultures on their list of the “50 Most Impressive College Museums 2017-2018.” 

mpc
Courtesy of the MPC Facebook Page

BYU’s museum specializes in artifacts of the anthropological, archaeological, and ethnographic varieties,” said the online college ranking company, who selected those top 50 out of hundreds of college museums in the US based on the breadth of their permanent collections and whether or not they included recognizable artifacts that could successfully appeal to a variety of audiences . “Highlights include shell necklaces from Polynesia and pottery from the American Southwest, though hundreds of countries and cultures are represented here. The museum also offers dozens of programs and classes offered each month for museum visitors of all ages.”

Current exhibits at the MPC include Steps in Style, featuring shoes from various countries and eras, and Piecing Together Paquime, which takes visitors on an archaeological journey through an ancient Paquime city. The museum will also be hosting upcoming summer camps, as well as these activities:

  • Date nights
  • Merit Badge Blitz
  • Museum camps
  • FHS nights
  • Mommy Meet Up
  • Utah Lake Festival

The museum also lends out culture cases containing educational materials to classes in order to further anthropological learning. 

steps in style
Courtesy of the MPC website

 The Mission

 The mission of the Museum of Peoples and Cultures is: “to serve the academic mission of BYU and care for the anthropological, archaeological, and ethnographic collections in the custody of the University. The Museum of Peoples and Cultures is BYU’s Teaching Museum, inspiring students to life-long learning and service and mentoring them in collections-focused activities that reinforce BYU ideals of education as spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, and character building. These activities concurrently serve the scholarly community, the LDS community, and/or the general public and aspire to the highest standards of stewardship and public trust.”  The museum fulfills their mission in the following ways:

  • Gathering and maintaining artifacts
  • Providing an educational setting for BYU students
  • “Facilitating teaching and research on peoples and cultures by BYU faculty, staff, students, and by members of the scholarly community in peer institutions”
  • Utilizing research, exhibitions, and activities to formulate new knowledge
  • Teaching people about cultures and peoples

History

mpc 2
Courtesy of the MPC website

 The museum was formed shortly after the Archaeology Department was instituted in 1946. It has been housed in numerous buildings over the years, including the Maesar Building, the Eyring Science Center, and the Academy Building. (Currently, the Provo library.) Aside from its inclusion in College Values Online’s list, the museum has the been the recipient of a plethora of awards and grants including a State Certificate Award for Excellence in All Areas of Museum Operations and the 2011 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. Since 2000, the MPC has received over $250,000 in federal and state grants for various research projects. In the same time period, $1.5 million in object and cash donations have significantly increased the quality of the collections.

With its rich events and creative exhibitions, the Museum of Peoples and Cultures is truly an educational and anthropological treasure that all BYU staff, alumni, and students can be proud of, and that the public can enjoy.

Have you been to the MPC?

BYU Museum Day Camp for Teenagers Offers Unique Perspective

For the first time ever, BYU will offer a summer day camp for teenagers who want to get a behind-the-scenes perspective of its museums. Youth ages 13 to 15 who are interested in museums, museum careers, art, paleontology, anthropology, or biology will enjoy this camp. During either of two four-day sessions the second or third full weeks of June 2017, they will have a number of opportunities to expand their skills in

  • Critical thinking
  • Design thinking
  • Writing and english
  • Science
  • Creativity and art

The camps will involve the Museums of Art, Paleontology, Peoples and Cultures, and the Bean Life Science Museum.

museum camp
Courtesy of MPC’s Facebook event page

Kari Ross Nelson, Curator of Education at BYU’s Museum of Peoples and Cultures, says: “We’ve been cultivating the idea of a Museum Camp for a while, so we’re excited to see it happening.  We’re excited to have all the Museums on BYU Campus working together for great variety throughout the week.” Instead of screen time, participants will have immersive, hands-on time seeing live animal shows, creating their own exhibits, tie-dying their camp shirts, and replicating fossils. The camp costs $139 which covers lunch, snacks, classroom supplies, a T-shirt, field trips, and teaching.

Jessica Simpson, a graduate student studying Archaeology and one of the camp’s staff members, provides her perspective on this unique opportunity: “Campers will have fun seeing what no one else sees from the perspective of museum professionals.” Go to museum.ce.byu.edu for more information and registration.

What’s your favorite on-campus museum?