Replicating an Ancient Artifact: Exhibit Highlights 3D Printing in Action at the U

As part of the research for a current exhibit at the Lowe Art Museum, Kay Pacha: Reciprocity with the Natural World, curator Dr. Traci Ardren collaborated with Dr. William Pestle, a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology, and anthropology student Adam Sticca to gain insight on how ancient Andean people made and used the art that would help tell the story of their lives 2,000 years ago. By creating a 3D replica of one such piece, an ancient Peruvian whistling vessel, the researchers were able to carry out intensive study of the artifact’s qualities in ways that could not have been done with the fragile original.

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UM researchers used the Digital Media Lab‘s 3D printer to replicate an ancient artifact from the collection of the Lowe Art Museum.

The 3D print, created in Richter Library’s Digital Media Lab through CT scan images they provided to the lab, is now on view on the first floor of Richter Library.

“From an archaeological perspective, 3D printing capabilities allow for more intensive study of an artifact free from any destructive processes which would damage the original piece,” says Adam Sticca, a freshman in the Department of Anthropology. “In this specific case, the printed replica allowed us to more closely examine the complex structure inside the hollow base. The process took a fair amount of trial and error in order to properly print the object as a hollow structure. This printed replica serves as a shining illustration of the capabilities and applications of 3D printing technology now offered at the library.”

Kay Pacha: Reciprocity with the Natural World is on view at the Lowe Art Museum through July 2, 2016. To learn more about 3D printing, including how to use it for your projects, stop by the Digital Media Lab and sign up for a 3D printing consultation.



Current Exhibition Extended Through July

We just received approval by Dean Charles Eckman to extend our current exhibition “The Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On” through July 2016, so that the participants of the RBMS Conference could see it when they visit the Otto G. Richter Library in late June.

FYI, RBMS stands for Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, which is a division of the American Library Association. This year the group meets in Miami from June 21 to 24 at the Biltmore Hotel for various programs. Please go to the link below for further information about the conference.

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We appreciate very much the opportunity to display University of Miami’s history as well as University Archives’ collections for the attendees of the Conference.



Objects in the Archive: Now on Display

objectsArchive_FINAL-withBlurb_webby Sarah Block, Library Communications

The exhibition features materials that highlight how the physical characteristics of objects can provide insightful clues about the past and inform the present.

Curated by Meiyolet Méndez, interim chair of the Cuban Heritage Collection, and Dr. Martin Tsang, UM Libraries CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in History and Area Studies, Objects in the Archive includes three-dimensional objects related to education, industry, and religion in Cuba from the Collection and outside materials. They span commodities and marketing materials from the tobacco industry, Republic-era educational memorabilia, creative works such as artist’s books from Cuba’s Vigía collective, and a rich variety of religious objects.

Tsang, a former CHC Graduate Fellow, culled religious ornaments and sculpture, many from the Lydia Cabrera Papers, that document influences of Afro-Cuban religion on the island and largely informed his own doctoral work.

“As an anthropologist I’m very interested in these material objects that remain and the inspiration, symbolism, and value that is given to and contained in these materials.” In his ethnographic fieldwork Tsang, who is also an initiated Lukumí priest, has also studied Afro-Cuban religion in both Cuba and on our doorstep through interviews and objects including religious icons and Afro-Atlantic beaded art.

“In some cases,” he explains, “objects have their own lives. A sculpture, such as that of a deity, can be as meaningful in a person’s life far beyond the concept of an inanimate object, taking on its own biography.”

One such object, a cement figure with cowrie shell features honoring the deity Elegua, is featured in the exhibition courtesy of Biscayne National Park, where it was originally found and is part of a larger religious use study that Dr. Tsang has conducted there. “The materials used and the way it’s created offer insights about origins of time and place, and broader cultural patterns and mobility.”

Objects in the Archive is on view through August 2016.



UM Student on “Pan American University”

By David Colbus, Senior in the College of Arts and Sciences
Student Assistant, University Archives

Throughout last fall, the University Archives worked to curate and install the Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On exhibit on Richter Library’s first floor. This was the first exhibit I encountered as a new University Archives assistant. To introduce me to the Archives’ work and purpose, my supervisor Marcia Heath gave me a tour of the recently completed display. The exhibit celebrates Pan Americanism, the University’s 90 years of history, and the new president, Dr. Julio Frenk. Beyond teaching me about my new role in the Archives, this exhibit educated me on the University’s history, and how that history informs the institution it is today.

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“Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On,” located on the first floor of the Otto G. Richter Library, features historical materials dating back to UM’s founding years. Photo by Andrew Innerarity.

The exhibit tells us that “Before there were University of Miami students or faculty, defined programs, or even a single building, the enduring concept of UM as the Pan American University had taken form.” Congressman William Jennings Bryan dreamed up this concept, one George Merrick and other founding members of the University strongly shared. Merrick envisioned a “university of our own tropical America…to supply that definite unfilled need of a cultural contact by university facilities with all of Latin America.” This Pan American University would invite cultural and academic exchange across all the Americas. This ideal informed the University’s earliest programs, research focuses, and even the University’s original architectural design. Victor and Rafael Belaúnde were specifically recruited to teach Latin American history and economics, and their establishment of the University’s Hispanic American Studies and Hispanic American Institute set the stage for many of today’s Hispanic-focused programs. The University of Miami also maintained close academic contact with the University of Havana through its early years to facilitate the academic exchange that Pan Americanism called for.

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Photo featured in the exhibition of UM drama students outside of the capitol building in Havana, Cuba, c. 1950s, from the University Archives.

University Archivist Koichi Tasa came up with the vision for the exhibit and served as its chief curator, culling records from the Office of the President Records as well as visual materials from the UM Historical Photograph Collection and UM Campus Architecture Collection, among others from the University Archives.  “It’s a great occasion to showcase our collections and knowledge about UM’s history,” Tasa said.

Archives specialist Marcia Heath worked with Tasa in research for the exhibit, and supervised the Archives’ assistants in their tasks. “We have an opportunity to start and frame important discussions about history, culture, and diversity in our community,” Heath said. “This resource encourages students to broaden their horizons.”

The exhibit was a collaborative effort within the UM Libraries and beyond: Beatrice Skokan and Yvette Yurubi from the Special Collections department and Meiyolet Mendez from the Cuban Heritage Collection researched and provided materials on topics such as the founding of Coral Gables and friendship between UM and the University of Havana. The Library Communications team provided editorial and promotional assistance for the exhibition. They also worked with local artist and UM alum Alex Vahan (Cushy Gigs, Inc.) in the creation of an eye-catching photographic collage surrounding the exhibition space.

Archives’ student assistants Jodiann Heron, Davin Stencil, Cody Andreoni, Sabrina Anand, and I located and researched materials for the exhibit. “What I really like is learning so much about the University. Every single day you learn something different,” Heron said. When I looked through the display cases, I remember being amazed by the complexity and importance of the exhibit. Yes, the exhibit focuses on the cornerstone idea of Pan Americanism and the University of Miami’s close ties to Latin America, following through the University’s creation and history, as well as into the modern day. However, it also locates one of the University’s greatest strengths, our diversity, within that original idea of Pan Americanism. It shows how the University’s devotion to broader understandings of cultural acceptance, of diversity, of peace and equality, stem from this one idea.

This exhibit represents the University Archives in capacity and purpose, and represents its role they could play for the future. Looking forward to 2026, the University will be celebrating its 100th anniversary. The University Archives will play an integral role of this celebration, showing the growth and evolution of our University from the ideals that it was founded upon. I hope that all of the University of Miami, every department and office, helps us in this endeavor. “If anyone in the University wants to celebrate their anniversary, the Archives are here to work with them,” Tasa said. When the centennial celebrations arrive, everyone at this university, everyone who has contributed to its achievements and shaped its reputation, deserve to be celebrated as a part of that history, so that their efforts and accomplishments are remembered, and their spirit and ideals are passed on for those to come.

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Local artist and UM alum Alex Vahan (Cushy Gigs, Inc.) created the historical wall design for the exhibition space using digitized archival materials. Photo by Andrew Innerarity.

The exhibition “The Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On” is on view on the first floor of Otto G. Richter Library through May 2016.



Now on View at Weeks Music Library: Video Game Music

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Mario, from the Super Mario Bros. series

Over the last few decades, video games have blossomed from simple entertainment to a vibrant art form and one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. As appreciation for the medium has grown, the music of video games has become particularly celebrated. It is thus with great pride that Weeks Music Library has begun curating a collection of video game soundtracks and scores to promote and support the study of this music within the Frost School of Music and across the University of Miami. Our growing collection highlights the music of games released from the 1980s to today, and heavily features the work of American and Japanese composers. A selection of these materials is currently on display at Weeks Music Library. You can also browse our collection in the catalog.



Artist María Martínez-Cañas Sheds Light on Her Photographic Path in Conversation at CHC

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

Artist María Martínez-Cañas

Artist María Martínez-Cañas.

You may have viewed the Quince Sellos Cubanos exhibition at Richter Library without realizing, at least at first, that you’re actually looking at photography. This is not an uncommon response to the style of artist María Martínez-Cañas, nor an unwelcomed one. In visiting the 15 iconic scenes depicting Cuba’s past, reimagined from the artist’s childhood stamp collection, you’re encouraged to take them apart as a way of understanding how they connect and the complex narrative that they together form.

“Photographs can be more than a way of recording the world. They can also be a tool for understanding who you are,” Martínez-Cañas explained during a November 19 event at the Cuban Heritage Collection, where she provided a closer look at how her unique style has helped her explore history, memory, and identity, among many other themes, during a conversation with professor J. Tomás López.

Martínez-Cañas is well known for pushing the boundaries beyond a traditional photograph, experimenting with a variety of materials and formats—analog and digital, color and black-and-white, camera-less and camera-base—in order to capture the image she intends. “It’s ideas,” she explained, “that drive my use of the medium, rather than the other way around.”

J. Thomás López, University of Miami Professor of Art and Art History.

J. Thomás López, University of Miami Professor of Art and Art History

López, a professor of art and art history who serves as head of Electronic Media and Photography at UM, navigated the discussion with topics spanning the course of Martínez-Cañas’ winding and prolific journey, from her early life and fascination with photography in Puerto Rico to the rise of her career and evolution of her work, which she carries out today in Miami.

“I had a curiosity of wanting to understand how the medium works from an early age, developing my first roll of film when I was eight years old. I asked my parents not to park the car in the garage because I wanted to use it as a dark room—and they didn’t!”

Her experimentation with photography in nontraditional forms began while studying at the prestigious Philadelphia College of Art, continuing at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she earned her MFA. She explained that when a Fulbright-Hays grant then brought her to Seville, Spain, she became interested in using the craft as a way to explore her Cuban identity.

“At the time I was trying to figure out what makes me Cuban. I was born in Cuba, but I never had the opportunity to grow up in the country in which I was born…I developed a project working with the maps that Christopher Columbus used to discover Cuba as a foundation for my photographic project. I thought if I used these maps, I will find my background and where I come from and I will connect more with what makes me Cuban. It changed my life.”

After moving to Miami, Martínez-Cañas embarked on the two-year project resulting in Quince Sellos Cubanos (1992). The first series of 15, comprising the 15 gelatin silver prints currently on display at the library, was donated to the Cuban Heritage Collection by Alan Gordich in 2015 along with the limited-edition portfolio Páginas de Viaje (1996).

Quinces Sellos Cubanos will remain on view through spring 2016.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.

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Now On View at Richter Library: Hometown Maps

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Since 1997 students at the School of Architecture have commenced their program studies in architecture and urban design by researching, analyzing, and interpreting the distinctive characteristics of the places they are most familiar with—their own hometowns. A selection of hometown maps created by students over the course of nearly 20 years is now on view in Hometown Maps: Where in the World Do Architects Come From?, located on the first floor of the Richter Library.

Architecture student Lorena Knezevic's map of Torino, Italy, is one of the 2015 featured works in Hometown Maps.

Architecture student Lorena Knezevic’s map of Torino, Italy, is one of the 2015 featured works in Hometown Maps.

The exhibition includes works by six former and four current students representing various cities and towns in the United States and beyond. The maps are showcased next to an interactive digital map of the world that has been specially created by UML librarians and School of Architecture faculty as a way to view a range of students’ work by location and year, among other aspects.

“These maps engage the students’ awareness about urban planning and the development of towns through the lens of architectural, environmental, and historical features,” says Gilda Santana, who as head of UML’s Paul Buisson Architecture Library has been helping grow the Hometown Maps archive at UM Libraries Digital Collections. Currently it includes around 300 student-created maps dating back to 2004.

At the exhibition’s opening on October 6, Dean of the School of Architecture Rodolphe el-Khoury said the project is an important way of introducing students to the UM architecture program and its big-picture philosophy. “We think of architecture in an urban context and what it brings to the city rather than focusing solely on individual monuments,” he explained.

The maps are hand-drawn, a testament to the program’s continued recognition of traditional drawing skills, while students use a range of tools and resources to support accuracy in their graphic layouts. The UM Libraries Maps Collection has long been a popular resource, and several students this year consulted UML’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Lab to cull information about their hometowns such as elevation and street data.

With the archive in place, this work has the potential to inform and inspire architecture students down the road. “As each project is presented to the class, the studio learns more about the larger issues of architecture and the environment, geography, and culture, as well as something new about the perspective on place,” Santana says.

Visit Hometown Maps: Where in the World Do Architects Come From at the Otto G. Richter Library, on view through December 2015.

Library visitors can further explore the Hometown Maps archive through the exhibition’s interactive digital display.

Library visitors can further explore the Hometown Maps archive through the exhibition’s interactive digital display. Photo by Brittney Bomnin



Join Us for the Hometown Maps Exhibition Opening Reception

 

hometownMap-header_1000x310_webCharles D. Eckman
Dean and University Librarian
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Rodolphe el-Khoury
Dean of the School of Architecture

cordially invite you to a reception to celebrate the opening of the exhibition

Hometown Maps: Where in the World Do Architects Come From?

Tuesday, October 6, at 4 p.m.
Otto G. Richter Library Reading Room, 1st Floor
1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL 33146

This event is sponsored by University of Miami Libraries and the School of Architecture. Free and open to the public.

Since 1997 students at the School of Architecture have commenced their program studies in architecture and urban design by researching and analyzing the distinctive characteristics of the places they are most familiar with—their own hometowns. Using resources from the University of Miami Libraries, such as historical and contemporary maps, GIS tools, and Internet resources, students incorporate architectural, historical, environmental and geological details to create graphic layouts of their hometown. Please join us to view the exhibition of hometown maps by former and current students and celebrate the diverse and far-reaching talents of the University of Miami and its School of Architecture. The exhibition will feature an interactive digital map of the world that has been specially created by UML librarians and School of Architecture faculty, allowing one to further experience the imaginative ways in which students have interpreted the places around the world they call home.

Contact us at 305-284-4026 or richterevents@miami.edu with questions about directions and parking.

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Now On View at Richter Library: Natural Cuba

Natural Cuba

An exhibition highlighting the island’s vibrant flora and fauna and their historical depictions, from iconic botanical illustrations to stunning wildlife publications to the beautifully colored specimens of the polymita picta, Cuba’s native tree snail. A series of historical photos, books, and other materials preserved by the Cuban Heritage Collection are now on display through Fall 2015 at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion at the Otto G. Richter Library.



Now On View: Quince Sellos Cubanos

Quince Sellos Cubanos

An exhibition highlighting iconic scenes and symbols from Cuba’s past, reimagined by internationally renowned Cuban artist María Martínez-Cañas. A limited-edition portfolio of gelatin silver prints is on view alongside the artist’s thirty-year collection of original Cuban stamps which inspired the work. The portfolio was donated to the Cuban Heritage Collection in 2015 by Alan Gordich. It is on display on the second floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.