Making the Past Personal

State Museum Lecture Features Ancient Sandals

Dr. Pat Barker presents Prehistoric Sandals of the Great Basin at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, October 22, as part of the Nevada State Museum’s Frances Humphrey lecture series. The museum has some amazing sandals in its collection, including a 10,000 year old sagebrush sandal currently on display in the Under One Sky exhibit.

“Sandals are fascinating to study,” says Curator of Education, Deborah Stevenson. “Signs of wear such as a hole in the heel tell us that real people wore these sandals…people like us, who worked hard, had families, got sick and cared for each other. Textiles are very personal. The human element is obvious and real.”

Pat Barker was born in Reno and grew up in southern California. He earned a PhD in Anthropology in 1982 from the University of California, Riverside. Barker served as an archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for twenty years, before retiring in 2006. From 1988 ? 2006, he was the archaeological for the BLM Nevada State Office.

Barker’s archaeological research experience included work in southern California and the Great Basin and his ethnographic experiences includes field work in Samoa, southern California and the Great Basin. Barker’s long-term archaeological interests in the Great Basin include prehistoric land management, fire and human ecology, political evolution and the nature and use of prehistoric sandals and textiles. He currently serves as Research Associate in Anthropology at the Nevada State Museum and is President of the Nevada Rock Art Foundation. Barker also teaches anthropology and history at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The Nevada State Museum actively engages people in understanding and celebrating Nevada’s natural and cultural heritage. The museum collects, preserves, and presents this heritage through exhibits, educational programs, and publications. Exhibits highlight the state’s history, geology, plants and animals, Native American cultural heritage, Historic Carson City Mint, a replica walk-through mine, and ghost town. Current changing exhibits include Slot Machines: The Fey Collection and The Art of Nature: Images from the Wildlands of Nevada. Due to mandatory state budget restrictions, the museum is closed Sunday ? Tuesday, and open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Wednesday ? Saturday. Please enter through the Dema Guinn Concourse. Admission: $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, and free for members and children under 18. For information, call (775) 687-4810.

The Nevada State Museum is one of seven managed by the state Division of Museums and History, an agency of the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs. The Department serves Nevada’s citizens and visitors through cultural and information management, presentation and promotion of cultural resources, and education. The Department also includes the State Office of Historic Preservation, Nevada State Library and Archives and the Nevada Arts Council. For more information, please call Teresa Moiola at (775) 687-8323 or visit the department’s website at

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