Dire Wolf skull in the Hall of Evolution at the MSU Museum

Game of Wolves: The Dire Wolf between Nature and Culture

In his June 2019 letter, MSU Museum director Mark Auslander reflects on the Museum’s display of a dire wolf, a powerful predator here in North America that became extinct around 9,000 years ago. In recent years, the image of the “direwolf” has seized the global imagination, thanks to the novels

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Representative Elissa Slotkin viewing the "Finding Our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak" exhibit

We Never Know How High We Are: “Finding Our Voice” As Creative Canvas

In his May 2019 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on some of the unexpected instances of creativity inspired by the Museum’s new exhibition, “Finding our Voice: Sister Survivors Speak.” Although chronicling a history of human rights violation and institutional failures, the exhibit is already proving to be a

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Arpillera

Re-woven Journeys: Improvisation and the Spirit of “Accreditation”

In his April 2019 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on the Museum’s recent re-accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums. In a formal sense, accreditation demands detailed planning and a demonstrated ability to implement a long-term “road map.” Yet, for a university museum the spirit of accreditation, that

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StoryWalk at the MSU Museum

Double Time in the Museum: Lines, Circles, and In Between

In his March 2019 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander considers how we tell and discover stories inside museums. When do we encounter stories told in a linear or chronological fashion, and when might we encounter stories that stand outside of conventional sequences of time, in eternal cycles? Perhaps, he

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Repatriating “Ñusta” to the People of Bolivia

Returning to her Eternal Home: Repatriating Ñusta to the People of Bolivia

In his February 2019 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on the recent repatriation to Bolivia of “Ñusta” the 500-year-old mummified ancestral remains of a young girl, after her 129 year-long sojourn in the MSU Museum collections. What lessons does “Ñusta” and her long journey have for us, as

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Silk-based Butterfly Dress created by Alexandra Bourque

Butterflies are Good to Think: Healing Partnerships with the Sister Survivors

In his January 2019 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander considers the deepening partnership between the Museum and the sister survivors and allies associated with the vast sexual abuse crisis that has been centered on MSU. Emerging out of the teal ribbon conservation project, described in the August 2018 Director’s

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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

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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

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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

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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

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