1971 - present
The Hall of Pacific Peoples was developed to replace two out-of-date halls that had been previously closed, the Philippine Hall and the South Sea Island Hall and was part of the Museum's 10-year exhibition program ahead of its 150th anniversary (1, 1965/64, p. 4-5). The hall was reorganized from approximately 1976 and 1984 with support from the Margaret Mead Fund. Additional funding for the hall was also received from Evelyn A. J. Hall and Yvonne Freund (1, 1976/77, p. 28; 1, 1983/84, p. 12).
Margaret Mead organized the hall into six major cultural areas: Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, which are color-coded. Artifacts in the hall include feather cloaks from Hawaii, spirit masks from New Guinea, coconut-fiber armor from Kiribati, Australian boomerangs, batik cloth and shadow puppets from Indonesia, a bolo knife from Philippines, and a Maori chief's carved storehouse from New Zealand. Highlights include the entrance exhibit on the career of Margaret Mead, the iconic moai cast from Rapa Nui (Easter Island), a Maori's chief's pataka (elevated storage house) with whale images carved into front gable, and a Maori weapons case. Other exhibits include model canoes, miniature models, including a Manus village in the Admiralty Islands, a burial ceremony of the Warramunga of Australia, and a ceremonial dance in Bali, while music from various regions is played throughout the hall. A Changing Pacific, a modern installation of 2016, produced with the Columbia University/AMNH Museum Anthropology Master of Arts Program and in consultation with members of the Pacific diasporic community showcases contemporary cultural objects and addresses modern issues experienced by Pacific Islanders (2, 1993, p. 46; 3; 4, 2016).
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