Adam Mekler is the world’s leading force for preserving the cultural history of the numerous tribes of the Amazon before they vanish from Earth. He is the authority of Amazonia tribal culture, classification of objects and identification of object materials.
Mekler documents the historical aspects of each object in the museum’s important, comprehensive Amazonian collection and helps maintain the physical health of the objects, which are primarily ephemeral materials such as feathers, bark cloth, vegetal fibers, seeds, shells and wood. The nature of these materials prevents their preservation in the rainforest where humidity, heat and the destructive action of numerous insects can destroy it in a matter of days.
Mekler also maintains a research database of over 2,500 Amazonian cultural material objects that includes photographs, native titles, tribal, geographical, historical, materials and ritual information, including literature and historical references.
Although each tribe has unique tools, systems of belief and governance, language, culture and arts, they share the threat that their society and customs are susceptible to disappearing and being forgotten. Adam Mekler believes “it is the duty of institutions such as the Houston Museum of Natural Science to protect and preserve these objects in order to promote further study and understanding of these unique tribal cultures for future generations as well as imparting knowledge to people.”
As associate curator of Amazonia, Mekler contributes to the exhibits in the John P. McGovern Hall of the Americas, and has curated numerous temporary exhibitions at HMNS. Several have traveled to other prestigious museum across the country. He has written numerous books, and has contributed to many more.
Adam Mekler studied at University of Southern California and California State University, Northridge, and has been an associate professor at University of California at Los Angeles for over 20 years. He is also an accomplished musician and plays piano in chamber music performances.
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