Dr. Elin C. Danien, curator of Painted Metaphors: Pottery and Politics of the Ancient Maya, is a Research Associate in the American Section of the Penn Museum. In 1998, Dr. Danien completed her Ph.D. dissertation, focused on Penn Museum's collection of Chama pottery which forms the core of this new exhibition. Dr. Danien's recent publications include Maya Folktales from the Alta Verapaz and Guide to the Mesoamerican Gallery, which followed her renovation of that gallery in 2002. She contributed to The Maya Vase Conservation Project, a book written by conservator Lynn A. Grant, about the featured vessels in this exhibition. Events coordinator for the Penn Museum from 1981 to 1989, Dr. Danien founded the Museum's annual Maya Weekend, an in-depth weekend of exploration featuring Maya scholars, epigraphers and educators, now in its 27th year. A Penn graduate who began her college education at the age of 46, Dr. Danien is founder of Bread Upon the Waters, a Penn scholarship assisting non-traditional undergraduates-women age 30 and older-to attain an undergraduate degree through part time study.
Lynn A. Grant, Interim Head of Conservation, joined Penn Museum's Conservation Laboratory in 1988 as conservator for loans and traveling exhibitions. From 1995 to 2002 she also served as field conservator for the Museum's Early Copan Acropolis Project excavations in Honduras, where she worked on Maya vessels for the first time, an experience that prepared her-in some small way-for the conservation of the polychrome vessels in this project. Before coming to the Penn Museum she had worked as a conservator in Canada, England, and Hong Kong and had done on-site field conservation in Herculaneum, Italy; the Athenian Agora and Kommos, Greece; Tille Höyük and Troy, Turkey, and 'Ain Ghazal and Tell el-Hayyat, Jordan. She holds a degree in Archaeological Conservation from the Institute of Archaeology, University of London, and a B.A. in Classical Studies, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB, Canada.
Kate Quinn, Head of Exhibits/Lead Exhibition Designer at the Penn Museum, joined the Museum's Exhibit team in 2008. She leads the Exhibition Team of Aaron Billheimer, Exhibits Technician/Designer, and William Whiting, Mountmaker, who develops, designs and builds permanent and traveling exhibits for the Museum. Having designed for the Philadelphia Flower Show, the Design Philadelphia! symposium, Fox Television and others, Kate joined the Penn Museum directly from the Delaware Art Museum. At Penn Museum, Ms. Quinn led the design and development of Fulfilling a Prophecy: The Past and Present of the Lenape in Pennsylvania, IYARE! Splendor and Tension in Benin's Palace Theatre, and several others. She holds a BFA in Theatrical Design and an MFA in Museum Exhibition Planning and Design.
Alex Pezzati, Senior Archivist at the Penn Museum, has worked in the Museum Archives since 1987, first as Reference Archivist, and in his current role since 2002. The Archives house the records of more than 120 years of the Museum's fieldwork around the world, documentation, including photographs, drawings and paintings of its artifact collections, and the administrative history of the institution. Author of a Penn Museum book, Adventures in Photography, which was also a Museum exhibit, he writes a regular feature, "From the Archives," for the Museum's Expedition magazine. For Painted Metaphors, he assisted with the selection of original documentation to tell the story of the Chama excavations and related materials: maps, photographs and field records of archaeologist Robert J. Burkitt, and exceptionally fine water colors of Maya vessels by Museum artist M. Louise Baker. In addition, archivist and curator were able to draw upon more recent color photographs of the region, from the late 1960s, by ethnologist and former curator Ruben E. Reina, to help place the objects in context.