Meet the Curators
Peter M. Whiteley, Curator of North American Ethnology, Division of Anthropology, and co-curator of Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest
Peter M. Whiteley studies Native North American cultures, societies, and histories, especially the Hopi and Rio Grande Pueblo in the Southwest, Cayuga and other Iroquois in the Northeast, and Hupa in northwestern California. He has conducted extensive fieldwork and archival research with Native American communities over the last three decades. He has published numerous articles in professional journals as well as three books on Hopi culture and history. Dr. Whiteley is a member of the American Anthropological Association and the Royal Anthropological Institute, and is on the editorial board of American Anthropologist. He received the Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of New Mexico in 1982 and is Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University; and Affiliated Professor, Ph.D. Program in Anthropology, The City University of New York. Dr. Whiteley joined the Museum in 2001, after 15 years as Professor of Anthropology at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. He is a contributing editor for the book Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest, copublished by the American Museum of Natural History and Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Lois Sherr Dubin, lecturer, curator, author of several authoritative books on Native American jewelry, and co-curator of Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest
A curator, author, and frequent lecturer, Lois Sherr Dubin wrote The History of Beads: From 30,000 B.C. to the Present (Abrams, 1997; reissued in paperback in 2004), considered a classic study on the subject. She has also authored North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment (Abrams, 1999; concise edition, 2003), Jesse Monongya: Opal Bears and Lapis Skies (Hudson Hills Press, 2002), and Arctic Transformations: The Jewelry of Denise and Samuel Wallace (Easton Studio Press, 2005), and was a contributing editor for Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest, copublished by the American Museum of Natural History and Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Ms. Dubin has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, the University of Pennsylvania, Parsons School of Design, and the New Jersey School of Architecture. She has curated exhibitions including Arrows of the Spirit: North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment and The Beaded Universe at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego. Ms. Dubin's landscape architecture projects and her writings on adornment have appeared in numerous periodicals and journals, including Architectural Digest, Architectural Review, and The New York Times Book Review, among others. Ms. Dubin was a Commissioner, Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Department of the Interior, 2002–2003, and sits on the Board of the National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center, Smithsonian Institution. Ms. Dubin graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in landscape architecture.
Jim Hart, Advising Artist to Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest
A Hereditary Chief of the Haida Nation and one of the Northwest Coast's most accomplished artists, Jim Hart is the great-great-grandson of Charles Edenshaw, a great Haida artist whose carved works are recognized as masterpieces of international importance. Hart was an assistant carver to renowned Haida carver Bill Reid (1920–1998). As one of the youngest of the Haida carvers showing great promise, Hart supervised the construction of the Haida house exhibit in the Grand Hall of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. Hart's monumental sculptures, poles, prints, and jewelry can be found in collections around the world. Bridging classical and contemporary forms, his work is valued for its beauty, integrity, and innovation. Hart's Three Watchmen bronze totem pole and another carved wooden totem pole are both on display during the exhibition at the Museum, along with selected jewelry.
Jesse Monongya, Advising Artist to Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest
Jesse Monongya, who was raised by his Navajo grandmother in a hogan (traditional Navajo lodge), on the Two Gray Hills reservation in New Mexico, spent many hours as a child looking at the stars and the night sky. His grandmother knew the seasons by the position of the Big Dipper and told stories about the constellations. Her teachings are reflected in his jewelry today. In 1974, Monongya began to work with his father, Preston Monongye (1927–1987), a renowned jeweler. Jesse began to focus fully on a career in jewelry after having a dream in which his mother (whom he never knew) appeared, presented him with tools, and told him he would become a world-renowned artist. He is known for the night-sky designs he places within a bear shape and other forms. Monongya has received many awards including Best of Show in 1986 at O'odham Tash in Casa Grande, Arizona; Best of Show in 1993 at the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial in Gallup, New Mexico; and Best of Division in 1992, 1993, and 1994, as well as Best of Jewelry in 1995 at the renowned Santa Fe Indian Market.