University Research and Teaching at the Museum

The Pitt Rivers Museum houses one of the finest and best documented collections of ethnographic and archaeological artefacts, photographs and archival holdings (including manuscripts and sound recordings) in the world.

Teaching remains central to the Museum's role and a number of senior staff have joint appointments within VMMA students
VMMA students with visiting Japanese curator, 2013.
the University’s School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, of which the Museum is a part.

In particular, Museum staff teach an innovative MSc/MPhil in Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology (VMMA); students may also do DPhil research. The MSc/MPhil program emphasizes material culture, visual anthropology, art and aesthetics, sensory anthropology, ethnographic photography and film, and museum anthropology within the broad framework of social and cultural anthropology, its history, and its contemporary contexts.

Museum staff who contribute to academic teaching in the University are:

Jeremy Coote MA Status (Curator and Joint Head of Collections)

Jeremy has led research and teaching on the Museum’s collections for twenty years, and has published extensively on them. Having conducted fieldwork in South Sudan in the 1980s, he has written influentially in the areas of African art and aesthetics, Pacific studies, and collections history.

Clare Harris MA PhD (Curator for Asia & Professor of Visual Anthropology, School of Anthropology)

Clare has held a joint post as Curator for Asia at the Pitt Rivers Museum and Reader in Visual Anthropology at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography since 1998. She has published extensively in the area of Tibetan art and history, most recently The Museum on the Roof of the World: Art, Politics and the Representation of Tibet (University of Chicago Press, 2013), as well as developing an innovative web project on the Museum’s Tibetan photograph collection, The Tibet Album. Clare is a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford.

Dan Hicks MA PhD (Curator for Archaeology & Associate Professor, School of Archaeology)

Dan's research and teaching is focused on the connections between anthropology, archaeology and history, especially in relation to material things. He has published widely in historical archaeology, material culture studies and heritage and museum studies, and has particular regional interests in the UK, the Caribbean, North America and the Atlantic world. Dan teaches and advises students in Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Art. Dan has recently run a number of ground-breaking research projects on the Museum’s archaeological collections: World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: A Characterization (2009-12) and Excavating Pitt-Rivers (2013). Dan is a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford.

Christopher Morton MA DPhil (Curator of Photograph and Manuscript Collections & Departmental Lecturer, School of Anthropology)

Besides being responsible for the Pitt Rivers Museum’s extensive photograph, manuscript, film and sound collections, Chris teaches on the Visual, Material and Museum Anthropology MSc/MPhil, the MSc in African Studies, and supervises research students working on photographic topics. Outside of the School of Anthropology, Chris is a Senior Research Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford, and Chair of the Royal Anthropological Institute’s photographic committee. He has published extensively in the area of photography, anthropology and history, and the return of collections of photographs to indigenous communities in Africa and Australia. Chris co-curated the exhibition Wilfred Thesiger in Africa at the Pitt Rivers Museum in 2010, as well as co-editing a book of the same name.

Michael O’Hanlon MA PhD (Emeritus Curator)

Michael O'Hanlon's anthropological fieldwork was in Highland Papua New Guinea, where he has done long-term, broad-based ethnography but with a particular focus on visual and moral systems, kinship, politics and material culture among the Wahgi people. He has also worked on the ethnography of museums and of collecting, both in his present post and in his previous post at the British Museum. Directorial duties currently restrict time available for teaching but his next book, The Pitt Rivers Museum: a world within will appear late in 2014. Michael O'Hanlon is a Fellow of Linacre College.

Laura Peers MA PhD (Interim Director, Curator for Americas & Professor of Museum Anthropology, School of Anthropology)MAME students
Dr Laura Peers and students working with
Pitt Rivers Museum photographic collections, 2007

As Curator for the Americas at the Pitt Rivers Museum and Reader in Material Anthropology in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, Laura’s research and teaching focuses on the changing relations between museums and indigenous communities in North America. Laura has published extensively on relations between museums and Indigenous peoples, museum anthropology, First Nations/Native American cultural history and material culture and historic artifacts as sites of social memory and identity construction for contemporary indigenous peoples. Laura is a Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford.