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Haffenreffer plans exhibit on Columbus Day switch

By
Contributing Writer
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology will feature an exhibit about Columbus Day in response to the Fall Weekend name change. The exhibit will go up in October and will be part of the current “Reimagining the Americas” exhibition.   

“The exhibit is about the history of Columbus Day and a little bit about Columbus himself,” said Museum Director Steven Lubar. “Holidays are important because they tell us something about who we are as a people and how we change,” he added.

The display will serve as a means of making the Haffenreffer relevant to the community as it takes on contemporary topics from an anthropological perspective, said Elena Gonzales GS, who works on the exhibit. “The individuals who lobbied for the Columbus Day name change wanted discussion of this issue to be continued,” she said.

“Columbus Day is something that we made up, and is more complicated that we know. We will be using Reimagining the Americas to think about how they are still being reimagined,” Gonzales said.

The exhibit will include cigar store Indian statues, political material, poetry, artifacts, paintings, stamps and a six-foot tall stained glass window of Christopher Columbus, which was moved from Sayles Hall to the John Hay Library when an elevator was installed during the 1970s, Lubar said. Because the artifacts and other material come from the John Hay Library and the museum, the exhibit will serve to connect the museum with the community, he added.  

The Columbus Day exhibit will be opened to the public by Columbus Day, but Lubar and Gonzales said they are hoping to open it to the public on Oct. 8.     

To promote the exhibit, the Haffenreffer Museum will be co-sponsoring Roots Week, an event meant to stimulate discussion about cultural issues surrounding Columbus Day. “Not only will there be opportunities to come see the work, but also to keep the conversation going,” Gonzales said.

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