“Ordinary Objects– Extraordinary People,” an exhibit dedicated to the study of the eight nomadic tribes of Eastern Africa will be on display at the Susquehanna River Archaeological Center (SRAC) at 345 Broad Street Waverly from February 4th through the 25th 2012.
Philadelphia’s Betty and Bill Bauman, who with Sultan Somjee, a Kenyan anthropologist developed the exhibit which was sponsored by the Mennonite Central Committee. The goal was to prepare a representative group of indigenous nomadic herders from northern and eastern Kenya to share their material culture (essential everyday objects) and their experiences. Today it is the only exhibit of its kind in the world.
Maps of Africa pinpoint the area traversed by the tribes of the nomads as they eke out their existence in the harsh sub-Saharan environment. The tribes navigate the desert from one watering hole to the next, staying for months at a time and then moving on to find a new source of water and food. Because all tribes are constantly traveling, all possessions must be portable. Dress consists of sandals, ornate beaded collars and simple clothing which are represented in the exhibit. Visitors will also see a Somali hut which is occupied by up to two adults and three children, and although are made to be portable with its branches thatched with raffia , it can last 25 – 30 years and can withstand wind gusts of 40-50 miles an hour. Near the hut, a camel sits close by with its feed and watering trough while a fire with wooden stools invites visitors of all ages to sit and take in all that surrounds them. Simple utensils, ornate headrests, spears and throwing sticks, and beautifully created milk containers also adorn shelves of the exhibit, with many more artifacts to discover around each corner. Visitors are invited to touch, smell and experience the exhibit with a hands-on approach not seen in many museums today.
The exhibit itself fills nearly 2,000 square feet at SRAC where they have been redesigning their lecture hall space for weeks in order to make this an incredible experience for all who visit the exhibit.
Ordinary Objects– Extraordinary People” will be at SRAC from February 4th - 25th during normal business hours (Tuesdays - Fridays 1-5pm, and Saturdays 11-5pm. ) The public is invited to attend this exhibit as well as SRAC's own Exhibit Hall filled with thousands of local Native American artifacts for the same donation requested all year long with one exception that ALL students and children will have free admission during the month of February in order to try and allow all kids a chance to see this incredible one-of-a-kind exhibit.
SRAC’s co-founder and executive director Deb Twigg stated, “Ordinary Objects– Extraordinary People” is a “city exhibit” that has traveled from Philadelphia to other large cities in the Midwest and Canada. We are fortunate to bring it to Waverly, New York for the month of February, which is also Black History month, and we wanted to share it with our community. Please try and bring your family to experience it while it is here.”