Hope Amason (Anthropology & Museum Studies), Lourdes Henebry-DeLeon (Anthropology)
Just like larger museums, small museums are ethically obligated to reconnect their collections to creator communities—albeit under the constraint of minimal resources. Within the Central Washington University Museum of Culture & Environment (CWUMCE), curatorial neglect, beginning from the museum’s origin in then-Central Washington State College (CWSC), was caused by resource constraint: lack of staffing (particularly in collections management), lack of space for housing collections, and the necessary funding for proper maintenance. Now that this physical curation is being addressed through additional resources and new protocols/policies, the CWUMCE has begun to focus on other aspects of museum curation, such as ethical, spiritual, and intellectual forms of care. Completing cultural biographies on the CWUMCE collection will aid in the implementation of these best-care practices through re-creating the chain of ownership and uses of material culture. While the goal is to ultimately learn more about creator communities (who have cultural ties to objects), museums begin building cultural biographies by researching collectors. The collection this research is focused on was amassed by Edward and Juanita Haines, professors at Central Washington State College now Central Washington University. Both participated in art-centered activities and were avid collectors of material culture from around the world—much of which was acquired by CWU through a purchase in 1970. The purchase of the Haines Collection was a significant step towards establishing what is today the CWUMCE. Archival research was used to develop this cultural biography, which includes a timeline as well as a study of relevant biographical information.
Keywords: Cultural Biography, Museum, Collection, Haines