Bringing Back the Archive: A New Temporary Exhibition launched in September 2023
!Khwa ttu is very excited to report the opening of our new temporary exhibition on 29th September 2023. This is the outcome of a long term working relationship with some terrific colleagues at Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, USA and Documentary Educational Resources (DER), USA, plus great friends and colleagues from the San community of Nyae Nyae, Namibia.
Between 1950 and 1961 the Marshall family, from Massachusetts in the USA, undertook eight expeditions to South West Africa (current day Namibia), to locate and document ‘wild Bushmen’ following the ‘old ways’.
Over the course of their expeditions and many subsequent years, the Marshalls produced over 40,000 photographs, 24 films, 13 academic articles, 2 ethnographies and numerous popular books and articles. Much of this output relates to Ju’|hoansi San from Nyae Nyae. This represents an extraordinary record of the changing life of the San, and a very significant contribution to how many people first learn about the San.
Visitors can enjoy reading about the Marshall’s output and how community members remember the Marshalls. Alongside information boards we have a touchscreen full of beautiful photographs to ponder over, and a playful tent in which you can watch excerpts from John Marshall’s films.
We are extremely grateful to Harvard’s Peabody Museum and DER for the enthusiastic support in exploring how we can make their archival holdings available and meaningful to the San.
We were particularly delighted that, with the support of Ubuntu Switzerland, we were able to employ two members of the Ju|’hoansi community, Leon Tsamkxao and Dennis Kazibe, to undertake key research for the exhibition and help us with the design aspects. We were then able to bring four members of the Nyae Nyae San community down to the opening of the exhibition: Leon Tsamkxao and his wife Maria, Festus Soroab and |Ui |Kunta.
The exhibition represents the first led by our !Khwa ttu curator, Magdalena Lukas. We are thrilled that our initial feedback from Nyae Nyae San and our !Khwa ttu San family has been extremely positive. The exhibition will be open until Sept. 2024 and then revisited periodically in the future. When closed, the main elements of the exhibition will be available digitally in ‘Encounters’, on the touchscreen generously supplied by Peabody Museum.