New England in the South Seas: Two Centuries of Trade and Exploration at Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
New England in the South Seas: Two Centuries of Trade and Exploration
Ingrid Ahlgren, Curator of Oceania, Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology
As early as the 1700s, the fledgling United States actively explored and exchanged goods with the islands across the great wide Pacific Ocean. New England—and Massachusetts in particular—played an active, varied role in these explorations, which included the China Pacific trade, the whaling industry, the foreign Christian ministries, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Ingrid Ahlgren will illuminate some of these historical legacies and show how Peabody Museum objects can shed light on the unique relationships and exchanges between Pacific Islanders and New Englanders.
Ingrid Ahlgren studies the intersections of Pacific identity, environment, sacred beliefs, and material culture. She has worked in the Pacific Islands for over ten years as a cultural and environmental anthropologist. Prior to joining the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, she worked at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of National History where she studied the symbolic and material importance of clothing mats from the Marshall Islands and assessed the impact of the Smithsonian’s Cultural Research Program. This program enables Indigenous communities to conduct museum-based research to save, document, and enliven their languages, cultures, and knowledge systems. Ingrid holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from The Australian National University, an M.A. in Anthropology from Stanford University, and a B.A. in Anthropology and Music from Tufts University.