Education | Anthropology
Focused on ethnology, which involves comparing and contrasting the cultures of different groups and observing their relationships, Dr. Lea McChesney has made a name for herself as a leading cultural anthropologist and educator. Her peers hold her in high esteem for her ability to translate her real-life research and experiences into the classroom; she is constantly working to advance her field. Some of her other research interests include the anthropology or art, representation and inscription, critical heritage, museum studies, and indigeneity, gender, and identity.
Dr. McChesney is presently parlaying more than three decades of excellence into her roles as the curator of ethnology at the University of New Mexico’s Maxwell Museum of Anthropology and as a research associate at Harvard University’s Peabody Museum. She has also been a core team member of the Hopi Pottery Oral History Project since 2012, and gave a presentation on the subject as recently as October 2017. Some of her other current projects include planning a grant for the sustaining cultural heritage collections at the National Endowment of the Humanities and developing a comprehensive collections preservation master plan at the Maxwell Museum.
In the past, Dr. McChesney has lent her expertise to the University of Texas, where she served as a research assistant professor, adjunct instructor, and visiting assistant professor in the Department of Society and Anthropology, and to the Museum of Northern Arizona, where she served as a co-curator of the Hopi Iconography Project. She also worked as an adjunct lecturer at the State University of New York at Brockport, a visiting assistant professor at Kansas State University, a lecturer of anthropology and Native American Art at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a visiting assistant professor and research assistant professor at the University of Toledo. Further, from 1982 to 1992, she was the administrator of exhibitions at the Peabody Museum.
Outside of academia, Dr. McChesney is the editor of “Museum Anthropology,” a journal sponsored by the American Anthropological Association. She has also published “From Entangled Objects to Engaged Subjects: Knowledge Translation and Cultural Heritage Regeneration,” and “From a Potter’s Perspective: Hopi Pottery and the World Market” in collaboration with Hopi artist Karen Charley.
In recognition of her outstanding achievements in the field of anthropology, Dr. McChesney has received numerous honors, including the Deans Faculty Recognition Award from the College of Language, Literature and Social Sciences at the University of Toledo, the Zora Neale Hurston Travel Award from the Association of Feminist Anthropology, and the Frank Hamilton Cushing Award from Wesleyan University. She has also received grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Culture Builds Communities Grant from the Arts & Cultural Council of Greater Rochester, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Further, Dr. McChesney has been featured in Who’s Who in Industry Leaders and Who’s Who for Excellence in Anthropology.