Skip to content Skip to navigation


Throwback Thursday: From the Center Place

Ceramic owls

Ceramic owls by Quanita(?) Kalestewa, 1949 (MMA L:76.68.13, R: 76.68.12)


Maxwell History

In the nearly 50 years since the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology has been in its present location, the Museum has hosted approximately 150 temporary exhibitions. Over the next few weeks, we will look back at some of them.

Developed collaboratively with A:shiwi (Zuni) Pueblo and Maxwell Museum Curator Marian Rodee, the 1984 exhibition From the Center Place: Contemporary Zuni Pottery and its Makers featured contemporary pottery from the collection of Clara Brignac Gonzales (1897-1976). Ms. Gonzales had worked for over 40 years at the Zuni Day School as a teacher and administrator. Students at the school learned pottery making and wrote papers about pottery history and techniques. Between 1920 and 1960, many gifted their works to Ms. Gonzales and the Maxwell’s Clara Gonzales collection includes these pieces as well as student papers and drawings.

The exhibition of 70 contemporary pots featured many of these works, as well as historic vesselsfrom the School of American Research collectio, and contemporary works from two important families of A:shiwi potters: the Kalestewas and Nahohais.  Exhibition labels recounted the history and techniques of pottery making at the pueblo. Short film interviews conducted by Milford Nahohai with his mother Josephine Nahohai, brother Randy Nahohai, and sister-in-law Rohena Him were also shown, as were interviews with A:shiwi students Prisciilla Peynetsa and Loubert Soseeah and their high school instructor Jennie Laate.

For more information, see  Marian Rodee and James Ostler, 1997, Zuni Pottery. Exton, PA: Schiffer Publishing.