Black Kirby artists with Julian Chambliss signing four prints that are now part of the MSU Museum’s collection. From left to right: (Left) John Jennings; (Center) Julian Chambliss, John Jennings, Stacy Robinson; (Right) Stacy Robinson

Superheroes, Remixed: “Black Kirby” and Re-housed Vertebrates at the MSU Museum

In his October 2019 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on the Museum’s new curator of history, Dr. Julian Chambliss, a specialist in black superheroes, and on the museum’s recent award of an important Federal grant, allowing for the rehousing of thousands of animal specimens in our Natural Sciences

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Elephant bird skeleton from Bone Clones, Inc.

Elephant Birds and Where to Find Them

In his September 2019 letter, Museum Director Mark Auslander ponders the imminent arrival at the Museum of an articulated skeleton of an elephant bird, the largest bird ever known to exist. What lessons about evolution and adaptation might this gargantuan flightless bird help us learn? Why did these birds become

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Arpillera depicting the home of poet Pablo Neruda.

Singing the Future: Between Absence and Presence

In his August 2019 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on how works of art may simultaneously dramatize a void of great loss while also serving as staging grounds for re-imagining productive futures. His examples are drawn from the Museum’s current exhibitions of Chilean arpilleras, highlighting the tumultuous era

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“Ashley’s Sack” is now on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (On loan from Middleton Place).

Between Mourning and Hope: Our Smithsonian Journeys

In his July 2019 letter, MSU Museum Director Mark Auslander reflects on the MSU Museum team’s recent visit to the annual Smithsonian Affiliations conference, a gathering of the nation’s many museums affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian has declared 2020 to be the year of “Earth Optimism,” dedicated to

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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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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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