Fowler Museum of Cultural History
July 23, 2008 9:36 AM   Subscribe

The UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History has an extensive, searchable online collection. It focuse on material art and household items and has objects from all over the world. The website can be browsed either by geographic orgin: Africa, Asia, North and Central America, Pacific, South America, or through its two exhibits, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives and Fowler in Focus. Some of my favorite objects (but really, everything is entrancing) are The Blind Scholar (a Taiwanese handpuppet), Chikunga (a Zambian mask) and a stirrup spout bottle which looks like a puma eating a piglet (Peruvian). All items have accompanying descriptions and some have short texts or audioguides with further information.
posted by Kattullus (3 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
This is something of a bittersweet discovery for me. When I was in library school at UCLA in 1991, I did an internship at the Fowler Museum where I tried to figure out how to integrate the museum's in-house catalog with UCLA's library catalog. I got a working prototype together, but it never got implemented :( It's hard for me to look at this site without thinking, 'hey, I did that 17 years ago'. The accompanying descriptions, or provenance tags, as they call them, are a lot of fun. They can go into quite a bit of detail, depending on what is known about the object's history.

Nice post, Kattallus. It brought back a lot of memories.
posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 11:17 AM on July 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

It was hinted at in my MesoAmerican cultures class that certain of the prehistorical peruvian cultures were real pieces of work, ie. would have felt right at home in Sodom, if you catch my drift, so that puma may not be represented as "eating" that piglet.

While the Fowler was being built our class lab got to handle a flat of artifacts that are now in the museum, thanks to Dr Donnan's Indiana Jones act over the past decades.
posted by yort at 11:17 AM on July 23, 2008

Great post, thanks!
posted by languagehat at 5:41 PM on July 23, 2008

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