Polynesian Scholar to Speak at Hallie Ford Museum of Art

Patrick Kirch will deliver a free slide lecture on Polynesian prehistory Thursday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m., in the Paulus Lecture Hall at the Willamette University College of Law.

"Patrick Kirch is one of the foremost Polynesian scholars and archaeologists in the world," said John Olbrantz, director of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University.

"Professor Kirch will situate Maori culture within the broader framework of Polynesian cultures and prehistory," Olbrantz said. "He will discuss the archaeological evidence for Polynesian origins and migrations, and speak to the record of ancient Polynesian art. Maori art is a reflection of thousands of years of artistic tradition that can be traced back in time to the ancestors of the Polynesians."

Born and raised in Hawaii, Kirch has led archaeological excavations in the Pacific Islands, served as a consultant for documentary films on Polynesian archaeology and navigation, and directed the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle. He currently teaches anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and serves as curator of oceanic archeology at UC Berkeley's Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology.

"His landmark book, 'On the Road of the Winds: An Archaeological History of the Pacific Islands Before European Contact,' remains the definitive book in the field," Olbrantz said.

Kirch's lecture is presented in conjunction with "Toi Maori: The Eternal Thread," a major exhibition of traditional and contemporary Maori weaving on loan from New Zealand collections. The exhibition, which features exquisite woven cloaks, floor mats, baskets and other pieces, runs from Sept. 24 through Dec. 22, at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University. The university is one of only three venues in the world chosen for this exhibition tour.

Organized by the Pataka Museum of Arts and Culture in Porirua City, New Zealand, in partnership with Toi Maori Aotearea-Maori Arts New Zealand, the exhibition is supported by a major grant from Te Waka Toi/Creative New Zealand. Local sponsorship has been provided by grants from The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde through their Spirit Mountain Community Fund, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Oregon Arts Commission and the City of Salem's Transient Occupancy funds.

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is located at 700 State Street (corner of State and Cottage Streets) in downtown Salem near the campus of Willamette University. The hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Children under 12 are admitted free, and Tuesday is an admission-free day. For more information, please call 503-370-6855 or visit