facing artifacts

Facing Artifacts: Casting, Collecting and Profiling at the San Diego Museum of Man
Collecting humans as specimens has a long history in anthropology.


Collecting humans as specimens has a long history in anthropology. In 1915, the Museum of Man worked with the Smithsonian Institution to acquire life casts of members of Native American nations, as well as many other groups of color for anthropological research about racial variation and evolution. These casts were exhibited to the San Diego public for the Panama California Exposition.

Revisiting this troubled history, Parkeology invited the public to donate their faces to the collections of the Museum of Man. Facing Artifacts participants witnessed first hand what it’s like to have the most intimate part of themselves transform into a museum artifact.

For one day, a life casting station was headquartered in the museum rotunda. Selected by a randomized lottery process, visitors sat for 30 minutes with a Parkeology face casting technician. Their faces were molded, cast in plaster, and immediately registered as a loan by Museum of Man collections managers. These new artifacts were documented and exhibited in the Museum of Man alongside their 1915 predecessors.


Face Casting Technicians: Jerry Blackman, Kate Clark
Face Casting Assistants: Diana E. Benavidez, Jeremy Raab
Face Casting Support: Daniel Hathaway
Museum Interpreter and Press Contact: Elizabeth Sutton,  Jessica McPeak
Reception: Peter Chen and Ashley Moy
Portrait Documentarian: Camille Laut
Harpist: Meghan Elizabeth Orr
Stills Documentation: Clark Bledsoe
Project Liaison and Reception: Alena Vasquez
Channel Parkeology Guest: Gwyn Isaac, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Curator
Channel Parkeology Video, Editing, Direction: Ren Ebel
ParkCast: Sound, Editing and Direction: Parker Bray

Face Casting Models
Jan Wallden
Dianne Berg
Catherine Cheng
Anthony A. Labue
Captain Burnett
Carter Lee Burnett
Jessica Kohley
Mary Jeong
Carina Novik
Philip E. Church
Nikki Nee
Megan Adcock
Marilyn Rudoff
Melissa Lynn Haeffner
Gordon L. Permann II
Margaret Williams
Gwyneira Isaac
Samantha Alberts
Katty Ibarra

Museum of Man Staff support
Karen Lacy, Collections Manager
Emily Anderson, Director of Exhibit Development
Audrey Chang, Project Director
Kelly Williams, Director of Collections
Sarah Crawford, Exhibit Developer
Kara Vetter, Registrar
Jason Porter, Director of Education and Public Engagement
Yadira Jaramillo, MoM Custodial Staff
Consuelo Hernandez, MoM Custodial Staff