The 1920 Christmas Number for The Graphic, featuring a drawing by R. Higgins

Masks for the Holidays: Mystery and the Regeneration of Life

In his December 2018 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on the Museum’s collections as he considers the curious symbolism of masks used during the holiday season, from Halloween masks, to the masked figure of Santa Claus, to New Year’s masquerades. Speculatively, Auslander proposes an anthropological interpretation of the

Continue reading
CALIPSO, a joint mission between NASA and the French space agency, CNES, provides new insight into the role that clouds and atmospheric aerosols (airborne particles) play in regulating Earth’s weather, climate, and air quality. (image courtesy NASA's Golbal Climate Change website)

Bringing Climate Change Home: Science on a Sphere and the World of Objects

In this November 2018 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander considers how NOAA’s Science on a Sphere system, scheduled to arrive at the Museum in late 2019, could be combined with physical objects in the Museum collections to illustrate the history and future effects of global climate change. What new

Continue reading
Aerial view of Michael Heizer, This Equals That, 1976–1980, State Capital Complex, Lansing, Michigan, commissioned by the state of Michigan. Photograph by Balthazar Korab.

This Equals That: Revisiting the Problem of “Equivalence”

In his October 2018 letter MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on conversations about bringing Michael Heizer’s legendary art work, “This Equals That,” out of long term storage, to be restored and reconstructed somewhere in the Greater Lansing area. Long considered one of the nation’s preeminent monumental sculptures, “This Equals

Continue reading
National Memorial to Peace and Justice

A New Tabernacle: Remembering Lynching in Montgomery, Alabama

In his September 2018 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on his recent visit to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. Dedicated to the nearly 4,400 recorded victims of racial terror lynching, the memorial centers on hundreds of hanging columns, on which are inscribed the

Continue reading
Removing a ribbon from a tree

Trees as Witnesses: Honoring the Survivors

In his August 2018 letter, Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on the approximately 221 teal bows and ribbons on campus, tied around trees to honor the survivors of the horrific sexual abuse perpetrated by Larry Nasser. Recently, the parents and allies who placed the ribbons decided to remove them, to

Continue reading
Image of Science on a Sphere

Pondering “Science on a Sphere”: Fire and the Singer of Tales

In his July 2018 letter, MSU Museum director Mark Auslander considers plans to bring the powerful learning technology, “Science on a Sphere”, to the Museum, with a projected grand opening in October 2019. Although the system draws upon some of the most sophisticated scientific research and computational analysis of the

Continue reading
Photo of basket woven by Pat Courtney Gold

Making Visible: Hanford Sturgeon and Indigenous Nuclear Art

In his June 2018 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on a remarkable Native American basket in the Museum’s collection, by artist Pat Courtney Gold, evoking radioactive contamination along the Columbia River. The work may highlight both environmental dangers and the striking resilience of animals and persons in the

Continue reading
Young women from ITEC's 2020 Girls Program

A Perfect and Absolute Blank: Mapping Mars with the 2020 Girls

In his May 2018 Letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander describes the opening of the exhibit “Martian Design Studio.” Ten young women from New Tech in Lansing’s Everett School have been working with Museum staff and ITEC’s 2020 Girls Program to design a Martian city of the future. How have

Continue reading
Mark Bradford

Turning Points: From Pickett’s Charge to Facing the “Anthropocene”

In his April 2018 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on Mark Bradford’s artwork “Pickett’s Charge“, a vast and important work of site-specific art currently on display in the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum. Bradford reflects on the hidden histories embedded within the epic turning point of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Continue reading
Image of Cycles of Childhood

Of Bicycles and Martian Voyages

In his March 2018 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander describes a recent visit to the Johnson Space Center and reflects upon the Museum’s new collaboration with the non-profit ITEC/2020Girls program, as middle schoolers in Lansing design a self-sustaining Martian City of the future. The non-profit ITEC works to increase

Continue reading