AAA panel addresses ways museums can inform environmental anthropology

In December 2017, Science Action social science team members Theresa Miller and Alaka Wali organized and participated in a panel on the role of museums in environmental anthropology at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting in Washington, DC. Entitled “How Museums Matter for Environmental Anthropology in the Anthropocene: Collections & Bio-Cultural Conservation,” the panel was sponsored by the Anthropology and Environment Society and included panelists from The Field Museum, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, and the Pennsylvania State University. Panelists discussed the ways in which museums and their collections can inform applied anthropological research on environmental change, destruction, and conservation in the past and present. Speakers drew from their experiences conducting research and working with museums in Oceania, Madagascar, Peru, and Brazil. The panel was well-received by Anthropology and Environment Society members and provoked new discussions on the roles museums and their collections play in current environmental issues such as climate change mitigation and adaptation.