Jessica M. Rowe, blogger
I’m pursuing a Ph.D. in Historical Archaeology at Temple University. I received a B.A. from Smith College in Colonial American History. I have worked in local museums and with local collections. My interests are collecting practices, museums, and 18th century Philadelphia.
(Contact Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Temple Anthropology Lab
Gladfelter Hall, Room L-8
1115 Polett Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Monday thru Friday 10am-5pm by appointment
AN INTERVIEW WITH MURIEL KIRKPATRICK:
How long have you worked at the lab?
Since 1964. I was here when the collections started arriving. Initially, I was creating illustrations of the Maya pottery of the Barton Ramie collection. I did that for 2 years…and never left!
What is your background?
I moved to Philadelphia for art school in the 1960s. I came here to Tyler for my undergrad. Later, I got my masters, also from Temple, in Anthropology. I did my fieldwork in Pueblo, Mexico at a potter’s village there. At that time, Jim Gifford, a Maya archaeologist and Temple professor ran the lab and I assisted. I continued archaeological illustration, in particular, with Ceramica de Cultura Maya, a journal that the lab published for 30 years on Maya terminology. I created all the covers.
What is your favorite collection or what work are you most proud of here in the lab?
I brought in the Commercial Museum material. I recognized that it was an important part of Philadelphia and I didn’t want to see it lost. Temple was one of a group of local institutions that were invited to select from (the now closed) Commercial Museum collection. Others included the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Penn Museum, the Free Library and the Mutter Museum. Giving these artifacts a home made me feel part of the local museum community. We have approximately 300 pieces.
I’ve heard stories of the dispersal of the Commercial Museum material. What was your collecting practice?
We got a list before hand and I knew I wanted models and dioramas from areas that would complement our existing collections. The pieces are amazing. I love the craftsmanship, the construction and the detail. I’m also interested in miniatures and that mode of presenting a whole little compressed world.
Thank you Muriel!