Story Archive

Ancient Andean art can be challenging to teach to undergraduates. In order to explore the art these civilizations produced, students first have to understand the complex cultural contexts. 

Ancient Andean art can be challenging to teach to undergraduates. In order to explore the art these civilizations produced, students first have to understand the complex cultural contexts. 

Spanning 5,000 years and covering a vast geography from Alaska to Chile, the Museum’s renowned collection of the art of the ancient Americas illuminates the extraordinary richness of the indigenous art of the western hemisphere. The refurbishment of the galleries housing these works continues a multiyear project of gallery renewal and reinstallation, including the renovation and opening to the public of the Works on Paper Study Room.

Acquiring new works of art for the Museum is both an exhilarating and a challenging task. For a university art museum, the degree to which an object advances the teaching mission is important, but high artistic quality remains the principal criterion, along with such factors as beauty, rarity, condition, and historical and scholarly interest. 

Sarah Nunberg, conservator, was first introduced to the Princeton University Art Museum’s Maya vase project when curator Bryan Just approached her to treat the Museum’s Ik’-kingdom vessels. Nunberg recounts her story.

The Museum recently welcomed to its Ancient Americas collection an arresting Olmec-style stone maskette, a gift from Gillett G. Griffin.