Students from Wesleyan’s French 325 class Museums, Objects and Empire, recently presented an exhibit on the history that surrounds Wesleyan’s former museum that once occupied Judd Hall from 1871 to 1957. Included was information on the Wesleyan’s missionary past; history on Javanese gamelan and ethnomusicology at Wesleyan; and a mummy, acquired by Wesleyan in the 1880s.
Focusing on the question, “How have these objects contributed to the creation of the ‘other’ throughout Wesleyan’s history,” the exhibit titled, “Uncovering Wesleyan’s Treasures: A Critical History,” was held on May 8 at Special Collections and Archives in Olin Library and was open to the both the Wesleyan community and the general public.
The exhibition used documents and collections from the Archaeology and Anthropology Collections to showcase Judd Hall’s rich history, as well as, display students’ “reflections on how to represent non-Western cultures and how to expose objects seen as ‘exotic’ from a western perspective.”
The object titled “Peaux rouges” or “Red Indians” from 1883 was part of the anthropology collection of photographer Prince Roland Bonaparte.
This fan was likely made with coconut leaves prior to 1870 in Mangaia, Cook Islands. It is now part of the Archeology and Anthropology Collections at Wesleyan.
Students led tours of the exhibit in English and French. The class was taught by Caroline Herbelin, visiting assistant professor of French studies. (Photos by Olivia Drake)