Alan Bryan and Ruth Gruhn, Curators, Bryan/Gruhn Archaeology Collection and Bryan/Gruhn Ethnographic Collection
“Without their combined, untiring effort over the past four decades, these collections would not exist today as an important part of the department and university’s teaching, research, and outreach programs.” - Shirley Harpham, Archaeology Technologist/Collection Manager, Bryan/Gruhn Archaeology Collection, Department of Anthropology
Husband-and-wife archaeologists Drs. Alan Bryan and Ruth Gruhn were two of the founding members of the Department of Anthropology and were the originators of the Bryan/Gruhn Archaeology Collection and the Bryan/Gruhn Ethnographic Collection. Dr. Bryan was a curator from 1966 to 1993, and Dr. Gruhn from 1994 until 2009. Their research interests focused on the question of the initial settlement of the Americas, and they are well respected for their contributions to the anthropology field.
Continuously supportive of the University of Alberta, its students and the development of the Department of Anthropology, Drs. Bryan and Gruhn recognized the need for resources for students and researchers alike. Contributions came in the form of material culture collected during their field seasons in addition to relevant library resources. Drs. Bryan and Gruhn felt it important to collect not just the beautiful and showy objects, but also the commonplace daily items, encompassing the breadth of human interactions with each other and the environment.
Drs. Bryan and Gruhn continued their curatorial activities throughout their careers and beyond, as professors emeriti. Dr. Bryan continued to be actively involved in supporting the departmental collections until his passing in 2010. Dr. Gruhn continues in her retirement to be a valuable advisor to the curators and collections staff.
These collections are invaluable to anthropological research. They continue to provide valuable primary and comparative data for research and teaching. To mark their contributions to the collections, the department and the field, the Department of Anthropology recently renamed the collections in Drs. Bryan and Gruhn’s honour.