Join us on May 1 for a special presentation “Speaking with the Ancestors” with MTSU professor of anthropology Dr. Kevin E. Smith

On Sunday, May 1, at 2 p.m., Dr. Kevin E. Smith, a Middle Tennessee State University professor of anthropology will give a special presentation, “Speaking with the Ancestors,” at the State Museum. After his presentation, he will be available in the gallery for questions while visitors tour the exhibition, Ancestors: Ancient Native American Sculptures of Tennessee. You may never have the chance to view this extraordinary exhibit again. There is no admission charge to either the event or the exhibition.

Dr. Smith will offer an analysis of this groundbreaking exhibit and explore its extraordinary significance. He will address what was discovered as a result of the research conducted during the exhibition. He will also speak about what new and ongoing research questions have been raised as a result of the exhibit.

Dr. Smith played a seminal role in bringing these rare statues back to Tennessee for a one-time-only exhibit, according to Lois Riggins-Ezzell, the museum’s executive director. “Specifically, this is the first time these pieces have all been exhibited together. The exhibit features a male sculpture considered to be among the greatest pieces of ancestral Native American art found in the United States,” she explained.

Above Right: Ancestral pair, both of sandstone, found near Brentwood, Williamson County, in the late 1800s. The male is on loan from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. The female is part of the Gates P. Thruston Collection held in trust for Vanderbilt University by the Tennessee State Museum. Photograph courtesy of David H. Dye


The exhibit includes pairs of several statues which have never before been on public view

Ancestors showcases a pre-Columbian stone statuary tradition that was found primarily between the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. The statues were often found in ancestral pairs, each containing a male and a female. All have long been separated since their discovery, and most have been taken far outside the state.

The 28 stone sculptures in the exhibition represent the largest group of Tennessee-Cumberland style statuary, including 14 from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., two from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, two from the McClung Museum, five from the State Museum’s collection, and five that are held in private collections.

Left: Pre-Columbian male sculpture from the collection of the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Tennessee. Photograph courtesy of David H. Dye

 

 


Speaking with the Ancestors

Dr. Smith is a noted anthropologist who has pioneered archaeological research in Middle Tennessee. His book, Speaking with the Ancestors: Mississippian Stone Statuary of the Tennessee-Cumberland Region, has been cited as the definitive volume about the Mississippian statuary tradition. 

Following his presentation, Dr. Smith will be on hand for a gallery tour, and to sign copies of his book.

Click here to watch NPT Arts Break on “Ancestors: Ancient Native American Sculptures of Tennessee,” on YouTube 

Click here to learn more about Ancestors: Ancient Native American Sculptures of Tennessee

Tennessee State Museum
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243-1120
FREE ADMISSION
 
Open: Tuesday - Saturday:
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.
Closed: Mondays and four holidays: New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.
(615) 741-2692
TOLL-FREE: 800-407-4324
museuminfo@tnmuseum.org

 

 

 

 
 
tn4me
Tennessee State Museum
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243-1120
FREE ADMISSION
 
Open: Tuesday - Saturday:
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 to 5 p.m.
Closed: Mondays and four holidays: New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.
(615) 741-2692
TOLL-FREE: 800-407-4324
museuminfo@tnmuseum.org

 

 

 

 
 
tn4me