The Ethnographic Fieldwork Experience and the Effort to Conserve a Maori Meeting House at Field Museum of Natural History
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My Senior Individualized Project (S.I.P.) was a summer internship at Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. I arranged a project in the Department of Anthropology by contacting the Museum Scholarship Committee, which awards temporary staff positions to undergraduates on a competitive basis. Because I had completed a Career Development Internship in a similar capacity at the Museum in the winter of 1987, the Department Chairman and Curator of Oceania, Dr. John Terrell, already knew of my interest in Maori culture. He asked me to research and write the enclosed article from the Field Museum Bulletin (Vol. 10, Nov., 1987.) The purpose of the article is to tell the next chapter in the story of Field Museum's meeting house, the tribal name of wrhich is Ruatepupuke II, and about a group of Museum "Friends" (donors) who have started a special interest group for the preservation of the house. My research sources were the museum's files of correspondence about this house, books about Maori carving, and most critically, a series of interviews that I conducted with the eighteen donors who traveled to New Zealand in 1986 to meet with descendants of the Maori man who originally sold Ruatepupuke in the 1880's. They have taken the name The Family of Ruatepupuke as a symbol of their commitment to the Maori friends they met while on the tour.