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Looking for museums with owl-related artifacts for study

  • 15 Jul 2019 10:57 AM
    Message # 7780994
    Oregon Museums Association (Administrator)

    From OMA board vice president Sarah Baylinson: Following is a brief for a capstone project that Anya Nelson is working on. She is trying to access museum collections to see any artifacts that might depict owls. It's really cool and it will be culminating in a Smithsonian SITES exhibit! If any museums have owl-related artifacts they can get in touch with Anya or her supervisor. She visited High Desert Museum and it was a very positive experience.

    Owls in Myth and Culture in Oregon and Washington

    Anya Nelson, Research Intern, Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) – Biology & Environmental Studies, 2020 -, (651)-398-9322

    David H. Johnson, Director, Global Owl Project (GLOW) -, (202)-360-0313

    Description and Methods

     There is substantial myth and culture surrounding owls in the Pacific Northwest, especially within native tribes. Understanding cultural aspects of owls can have a profound bearing on how owls are viewed in terms of conservation programs.  Beliefs are complex and deeply rooted in time.  The Global Owl Project has conducted some 6,000 interviews with people in 30 countries around the world.  The interviews (4 pages in length) ask basic questions about the gender and age of interviewees, on their ecological knowledge of owls, and then on their myths and beliefs about owls.  Subsequent work examines anthropological and archaeological aspects involving owls and people in given regions.  Work under this project will examine anthropological and archaeological evidence about human-owl relationships in Washington and Oregon.  Detailed examinations of various museums in Washington and Oregon would investigate and catalog artifacts including pottery, paintings, textiles, and other related evidence of human-owl relationships in Washington and Oregon.  Related scientific literature will be examined, again with the focus being on cataloging evidence of the human-owl relationship.  Work under this project is focused on the pre-1900 timeframe.

    Final Products

    PLU Senior Capstone project, Environmental Studies

    Publication in the Journal of Ethnobiology or similar peer-reviewed journal

    Collaboration with GLOW Owls in Myth and Culture project and accompanying book and

    Smithsonian exhibition (“Spirit Wings: Owls in Myth and Culture”)


    Museum visits and data collection: June-July 2019

    Analysis and write-up: August-April 2019-20

    Final Capstone presentation: May 2020

Mailing Address: PO Box 8604, Portland, OR 97207
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