Wednesday, March 7, 2012

African Exhibit at SRAC ONLY Until March 17th

Time is running out for those of you who have not experienced the Eastern African Exhibit at  the Susquehanna River Archaeological Center. The "Ordinary Objects, Extraordinary People" exhibit which represents the eight nomadic tribes of Eastern Africa will close on Saturday March 17th, 2012.

Filled with items that are meant to be touched and experienced and guided by trained staff who will give you a guided tour, the Eastern African exhibit is a "don't miss" experience for people of all ages.

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.

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.  Because of it's popularity - it has been extended until March 17th. Please try and bring your family to experience it while it is here.It is so unique that it will never be in our region again.”

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