Pre-Columbian Society of Washington DC

The Pre-Columbian Society of Washington, D.C. (PCSWDC), is an educational organization dedicated to furthering knowledge and understanding of the peoples of the Americas before the time of Columbus. Founded in 1993, the Society provides a forum for the exchange of information regarding these pre-Columbian cultures between academic professionals and interested members of the public.

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New Analyses of a Codex and a Lienzo from the National Museum of the American Indian Collection,  Leah Bright, MS, National Museum of the American Indian

This meeting will be held at the Charles Sumner School, 17th & M Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.

NOTE: Photo ID may be required to enter the building.

The meeting will start with refreshments at 6:45 pm and the lecture will begin at 7:15 pm.


Two mid-16th century Mexican pictographic documents in the collection of the National Museum of the American Indian, a codex on amate paper from the Valley of Mexico and a lienzo on a large cotton textile from Puebla, have been well studied by historians and archaeologists yet have never been the subjects of a technical study. This paper presents the preliminary analytical results of a study that aims to holistically understand the object’s biographies, from manufacture and use through accession and conservation. In addition to technical analysis, this project looks to re-contextualize the codex and lienzo by strengthening our understanding of their relationships to historic and contemporary indigenous documentary traditions in Mexico.


Leah Bright is currently a second-year Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Objects Conservation at the National Museum of the American Indian. She graduated with an MS from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation in 2017, and as a graduate student completed conservation internships at the Arizona State Museum in Tucson, Arizona, the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain, and the Alaska State Museum in Juneau, Alaska. Born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, Leah graduated with a BA in Art History and Spanish from the University of Oregon in 2010, where she focused her studies on the intersection of art and border policies along the US-Mexico border. 

Earlier Event: March 1
Later Event: May 3

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