Annals 7: Voyaging Through the Oceanic Collection at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Oceanic Collection at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science is one of the smallest collections contained within the museum’s World Ethnology Collection, yet it is perhaps one of the largest regional collections of Oceanic materials in the Rocky Mountains—second only to the Denver Art Museum. This article provides the first in-depth look at this collection through an accession-based approach of describing the objects, peoples, and histories found within it. In using the concepts of (re)discovery and wayfinding as material culture research methods, this paper presents a “voyage” through the Oceanic Collection facilitated by collections-based and archival research. The essay ends by reflecting on the Department of Anthropology’s mission statement to curate “the best understood and most ethically held anthropology collection in North America,” and on how this statement can be promulgated through further research on the Oceanic Collection, as well as future partnerships with diasporic Pacific Islander communities living in Colorado.