Repatriation & Healing at the Hearst Museum

In 2021, staff and leadership at the Hearst Museum developed a new strategic plan to guide the organization’s future. As part of this process, the Hearst recognized a need to prioritize repatriation under NAGPRA & other laws and policies, as well as to build and repair relationships with Native communities.

Last month, the Hearst Museum & UC Berkeley worked with leadership of the Wiyot Tribe to repatriate ancestors and belongings which had been held by the University for the last 70 years. This repatriation is part of broader changes happening on campus.

The Hearst Museum acknowledges that there remains much work to do. Faculty Director Lauren Kroiz shared that “We’re guided by principles articulated in the UC Office of the President’s Policy acknowledging that ‘as long as Human Remains and Cultural Items remain in the University’s Control, healing and reparation will be incomplete.'”

By prioritizing full repatriation, the Hearst also hopes to open the door to new opportunities and partnerships, such as the growing collaboration with Cafe Ohlone. In addition, Hearst staff have been engaging in introspective diversity, equity and inclusion work through a year-long program with OF/BY/FOR ALL, the launch of a series focused on institutional transparency, and collaboration with campus consultants.

The Hearst appreciates your continued support during this period of critical change and looks forward to welcoming back students, researchers, and the public in the coming year.

Resources & Further Reading

California Language Archive

Honoring Ira Stuart Jacknis

Honoring Ira Stuart Jacknis (1952-2021)

It is with great sadness that we note the sudden passing of our esteemed colleague Ira Stuart Jacknis.  Jacknis passed away peacefully at home on September 29, 2021 after a brief illness.  He is survived by his brother Ian Jacknis and sister Jocelyn Jacknis, both of New York.

Born in New York City on March 25, 1952, Jacknis went on to enjoy a long and prolific career as a cultural anthropologist at several of the most prominent anthropology museums in the United States.  He earned his B.A. in Anthropology and Art History, summa cum laude, from Yale University in 1974, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1976 and 1989. While completing his Ph.D., he worked as a curator at the Brooklyn Museum, and in 1991, he co-authored his first book, Objects of Myth and Memory, based on the museum’s American Indian art collection. 

In August of that same year, Jacknis joined the staff of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology (then the Lowie Museum of Anthropology) at the University of California, Berkeley as a Research Anthropologist. During his tenure at the Hearst Museum, he taught courses in museum anthropology, mentored countless students and aspiring museum professionals, curated dozens of exhibits, and completed a staggering number of publications based on his research. Jacknis possessed an unparalleled knowledge of the Hearst Museum’s collections and generously shared that knowledge with students, fellow staff members, and colleagues.  A scholar of many subjects, he specialized in the history of anthropology, museum anthropology, and the arts, cultures, and customs of the Indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast, American Southwest, and California. 

Among his major exhibits at the Hearst Museum were Back Roads to Far Towns: Folk Art of Rural Japan, September 1994 – June 1995 (and resulting catalogue), The Carver’s Art of the Indians of Northwestern California, August 1995 – February 1996 (and associated documentary film), Food in California Indian Culture, September 1997 – January 2000 (and resulting publication by the same name), and In the Land of Kings: Aspects of Artistry in Rajasthan, India, September 2006 – July 2007. He was particularly fond of Visual Anthropology and helped secure grant funds from several, prominent foundations to support the preservation of the museum’s ethnographic film and audio recordings. In addition to curating numerous photographic exhibits at the Hearst Museum, he joyfully participated for many years in the selection of applicants for the Dorothea Lange Fellowship for documentary photography at UC Berkeley.

Throughout his career, he presented over 60 public lectures, wrote a total of 7 books and manuscripts, served as a reviewer for dozens of academic publishers and institutions, and published over 100 articles, reviews, and book introductions. Additional publications of note include The Storage Box of Tradition: Kwakiutl Art, Anthropologists, and Museums, 1881-1981 (2002) and a forthcoming book on the history of miniature dioramas in anthropological museums.

In 2021, Ira fully retired from the Hearst Museum after 30 years of service with multiple research projects, articles, and manuscripts awaiting completion. In addition to his work at the Hearst Museum, he served as a Research Associate for the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University, the Smithsonian Institution, and the American Museum of Natural History.  

Despite the impressive number of accomplishments and accolades noted here, his contributions to the field of anthropology and the influences he had on generations of scholars are beyond measure. It is incomprehensible to think of the Hearst Museum without Ira Jacknis and he will be dearly missed.

–The Staff of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology

Private services were held with his family in New York. A public memorial service will be held at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology on Thursday, December 9 from 1-2:30 p.m..  Letters of condolences for the Jacknis family or Hearst Museum staff may be sent to the following addresses:


Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology
103 Anthropology and Art Practice Building #3712
Berkeley, CA 94720-3712

Donations in his memory may be directed to the Hearst Museum.  

If sending a check, please make payable to:

The Hearst Museum Fund (FU1053)
Note: IMO Ira Jacknis

Mail Checks to:

University of California, Berkeley
Donor and Gift Services
1995 University Avenue, Ste 400
Berkeley, CA 94704-1070

How the CARES act stretches philanthropic dollars for your 2020 taxes!

As a non-profit, the Hearst Museum relies on the support of those who believe in our institution as a place where cultures connect (even if it is just virtually for the time being). While our doors are currently closed, we invite you to experience the Hearst From Home

Museums have never been more important to us as a source of inspiration as well as a place that will be part of the healing process during this time of uncertainty. We are deeply appreciative of your commitment to the Hearst Museum and want to share how some of the legislation in the new “CARES” Act regarding your 2020 taxes can benefit the Museum. 

Below are some examples of those changes and a reminder of why you should support the Hearst Museum while saving yourself some money on your taxes next year. 


For those who don’t itemize their taxes…

The bill allows for up to $300 in charitable contributions to be an above-the-line deduction, meaning you don’t have to itemize to claim the deduction. Contributions must be cash donation(s) to qualified charities. The museum’s fundraising is supported through the University’s Foundation – Tax ID 94-6090626 


For those who do itemize…

The bill increases the cap on annual giving from 60 percent of adjusted gross income to 100 percent. 


Here is a quick explanation from the New York Times:

As part of the bill, donors can deduct 100 percent of their gift against their 2020 adjusted gross income. If you have $1 million of income, you can give $1 million to a public charity and deduct the full amount in 2020. The new deduction is only for cash gifts that go to a public charity. If you give cash to, say, your private foundation, the old deduction rules apply. And while the organizations that manage donor advised funds are public charities, you do not get the higher deduction for donating cash to your donor advised fund. If your assets are substantial enough that you can give more than your income this year, you won’t lose the deduction for the excess amount. You can use it next year, as has always been the case.


For corporate charitable giving …

The bill raises the annual limit from 10 percent to 25 percent of taxable income for corporations.


This is great news for our donors who are investing in the museum’s work of creating spaces for cultures to connect! Here is your opportunity to give to the museum and support the great work we are doing while saving yourself some money on your taxes!

Hearst from Home

Upcoming Events

Welcoming Dr. Caroline Jean Fernald

Dear Friends, 

The Phoebe A. Hearst Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Caroline Jean Fernald to the position of Executive Director. She began her position on September 16.

Dr. Fernald previously served as the Executive Director of the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, New Mexico, and  worked in collections management at the E. Irving Couse and Joseph Henry Sharp Historic Site, also in Taos. She has taught courses on Native American, Mesoamerican, and South American art history at the University of Oklahoma where she received her doctorate in Native American Art History. 

Fernald joins the Hearst Museum with a deep experience in museum leadership. As director of the Millicent Rogers Museum, she led the institution through its successful reaccreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, grew its permanent collection, and more than doubled income from major gifts and grants. 

As Executive Director, Caroline will lead the Hearst Museum’s mission to be a place where cultures connect with each other in uncommon ways. She will manage the Museum’s day-to-day operations as well as oversee the work of the exhibits, programs, and education divisions. Caroline will lead the Museum’s fundraising efforts and work closely with the Hearst Museum’s Advisory Board. She will also strengthen relationships with the many descendent stakeholder communities the Museum serves in the Bay Area and throughout California. This includes working with the Museum’s Native American Advisory Council, an 11-member body that advises the Hearst on a range of cultural issues.

Dr. Benjamin Porter, the Hearst Museum’s Director since 2015, will roll up to the new position of Hearst Museum Faculty Director. In his new position, Porter will coordinate research and develop new student discovery experiences in the collections. Porter will also lead collections care initiatives and coordinate projects related to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and related cultural policy laws.

Porter, who led the Executive Director search committee, stated that “the committee was unanimous in its decision to offer this important position to Dr. Fernald. Her recent successes in museum leadership and her passion for cultural institutions made her stand out in this competitive search.” Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Linda Rugg offered that “Caroline joins the Berkeley community at an important moment when the campus is taking significant steps to improve its relationships with Native American communities. Caroline’s work here will be deeply valued.”

Please join us in welcoming Caroline to campus!