The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (VCR) at the University of California, Berkeley has appointed Dr. Benjamin W. Porter as Acting Director of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. At Berkeley, Professor Porter is a faculty member of the Department of Near Eastern Studies and has been the Curator of Near Eastern Archaeology at the Hearst Museum since 2008.
Winner of the 2013 American Schools of Oriental Research’s G. Ernest Wright Book Award, Porter is a Near Eastern anthropological archaeologist who investigates how ancient Middle Eastern societies built resilient institutions in arid environments. A founding board member of the non-profit Institute for Field Research, Professor Porter has received funding from The National Science Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development-Jordan for archaeological projects designed to promote economic development and protect cultural heritage in Jordan. "Ben Porter's field expertise, his experience with university museums, and deep commitment to their critical role in research and teaching make him ideally suited to lead the Hearst Museum,” commented Professor Emeritus Patrick V. Kirch, former director of the Hearst Museum and professor in UC Berkeley’s Graduate School.
Porter’s appointment comes at a pivotal time for the Hearst Museum as it transitions from safeguarding its 3.8 million objects to also amplifying their educational value in teaching, research and student-curated community programming. The museum is completing a major reorganization of its collections management facilities as well as a gallery redesign at Berkeley’s Kroeber Hall ahead of a new exhibition that will showcase many never-before-seen objects from the collection. “Dr. Porter brings new breadth and enthusiasm to the oversight of the museum’s vast global collections, and research and teaching programs,” said Christopher McKee, Interim VCR, to whom the museum reports.
Professor Porter directs archaeological fieldwork in Jordan (left), with UC Berkeley graduate and undergraduate students as part of an international team (right).
To learn more, visit the VCR’s Office at vcresearch.berkeley.edu/faculty/benjamin-porter or visit berkeley.academia.edu/BenjaminPorter. You can also read Professor Porter’s welcome message here.
ABOUT THE HEARST MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY
Through ongoing integration of multiple perspectives and the active stewardship of global archaeological, biological and ethnographic collections, the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology supports scholarly and community-based research and provides exhibitions, educational experiences and cultural programs that strengthen and connect the communities of UC Berkeley and the Bay Area.
For further information about the Museum and its new Director, please contact: