“Conversations Between Communities” exhibition opens in Grossmann Gallery

University Archives & Special Collections welcomes the arrival of the exhibition “Conversations Between Communities: UMass Boston Archaeology for and with the Nipmuc Nation and the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation” in the Grossmann Gallery on the 5th floor of the Joseph P. Healey Library.  “Conservations Between Communities” combines cultural objects and photographs to showcase two ongoing UMass Boston archaeological projects that have collaborative relationships with local Native American communities in southern New England.  The exhibition is free to the general public and will remain open through the end of November.

Community-engaged scholarship, learning, and service are important parts of university missions, ensuring that academic projects do not just “take” but also give back in meaningful ways. Archaeological projects with, by, and for Native American communities play significant roles in this process. To achieve these goals, two archaeological field projects at UMass Boston—the Hassanamesit Woods Archaeological Field School (Grafton, Massachusetts) and the Eastern Pequot Archaeological Field School (North Stonington, Connecticut)—employ different levels of consultation and collaboration to engage the Nipmuc and the Eastern Pequot communities, respectively, in the archaeology conducted on their lands.

Similarities and differences between artifacts unearthed speak to each community’s unique experiences over the last 400 years, providing new insights to spark conversations between these indigenous groups and the archaeologists and students who work with them. The artifacts presented in this exhibition fall into four main categories—connections to a deeper past, foodways, architecture, and daily lives—that broadly encapsulate life at one Nipmuc homesite in Hassanamesit Woods and at several 18th– and 19th-century households on the Eastern Pequot reservation. The photographs capture some of the nature of archaeological fieldwork and interesting moments of community involvement.

There will be a panel discussion on the Healey Library 5th floor on Tuesday, November 12 from 4:00-6:00 pm.


University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, and local history related to neighboring communities.

University Archives & Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives & Special Collections, click here or email library.archives@umb.edu.

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