Dominique Alhambra joined the Museum as the anthropology collections manager and NAGPRA coordinator in 2018. She has worked in collections stewardship and management for more than 10 years, with diverse collections at institutions such as the National Park Service, the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, and most recently the University of Iowa Museum of Art.
Dominique is especially interested in decolonizing practices and the ethics of caring for and repatriating collections acquired through colonial frameworks. Her favorite part of working in collections is engaging the community and collaborating with Native American tribes to increase access. Working so closely with tribal representatives has taught Dominique to ensure each object is handled according to the wishes of its originating group or their descendants whenever possible. From this perspective, even something as simple as transporting a culturally sensitive object in the collection to a new location can require extensive planning and collaboration.
On a typical day, you will likely find Dominique in the Avenir Collections Center diving deep into the database and updating records.
Our New Vase
Dig into this science bite with Anthropology Collections Manager, Dominique Alhambra. This vase is Anthropology’s newest acquisition. Created by Maria Martinez, celebrated as one of the most important Pueblo artists of the last century. She is San Ildefonso and Tewa, and was born in 1887 and died in 1980. She built her pots by hand, using smooth stones to burnish the surface, and then painted the design over the polished surface. That creates this matte-black design over the polished-black surface effect.
Listen to Collections Manager Dominique Alhambra discuss documenting, moving and rehousing the 3,200 objects from the African and Central and South American collections into the Avenir Collections Center.
Earth Day Science on the Spot
This Science on the Spot celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day will focus on on the human role in stewardship and conservation of our planet: the story of the the people, the plants and animals that inhabit it. Our collections staff will share some images of objects in our collections along with stories of tragedy and hope that accompany them.