The Mask Mizzou Wears

Procrastination: a trait I like to think isn’t part of my characteristics. With only one week left in the semester, however, I found myself missing a decent amount of points in my FIG class because I had yet to make up the FIG cultural event.


An important part of the FIG program is the component of a cultural event. Regardless of the type of FIG a student is enrolled in, the event is designed to give students a different or unique perspective on life through the exploration of a new place, lifestyle, movement, or idea.


My FIG had the opportunity to attend the Citizen Jane film festival back in October. The film they saw, Wonder Woman, was about the role of women in society. I was really interested in the topic and looked forward to the event, until I realized I would be traveling back home the weekend of the film.


Left alone to come up with an event of my own to replace what I’d missed, I found myself exploring MU’s very own Museum of Anthropology.


During my four months at MU, I was well aware of the museum’s existence. I had crossed Swallow Hall, where the museum is located, several times but hadn’t bothered to go in and explore.


With my classes completed for the day, I decided that Friday November 30th would be an excellent day to visit the museum. The sun was shining as I walked into the museum, but the light soon faded as I entered the exhibit.


I signed my name in the museum’s visitor log and began exploring all it had to offer. I noticed a variety of masks from a multitude of countries that were several centuries old. While most of them were interesting, a few were creepy!


Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with a sense of discomfort. I knew that I had to stay and read the descriptors placed outside each of the glass cases, but I was extremely uncomfortable. It was as if my sixth sense just knew that the museum was possessed. I moved past the masks and saw artifacts from different Native American tribes that lived in Missouri. I became increasingly frightened as I moved from exhibit to exhibit, especially when I came across a display portraying the Mayan calendar.


I did learn some very interesting things about masks and my knowledge of them now spans beyond that of Phantom of the Opera.  As seen in the picture below, masks from different cultures are said to embody three different attributes: power, performance, and art. I found the exhibit to be particularly interesting because of my background in theatre. What each mask represents to each culture is something that is unique and withholds a plethora of historical significance. I never knew the extent to which masks matter until I visited the exhibit. It was definitely an enhancing intellectual experience.


It may seem cheesy, but in a way, I think we all have masks at different points in our lives. Even if we don’t physically masquerade, there are still points in which we wish to conceal our identity and become something we are not. The exhibit was something that I think a lot of people could benefit from viewing, mainly because it helped to connect the present to the past and made me realize that we’re all have our own masks that are just waiting to be unveiled.


Museum047 IMG_1931 IMG_1932 IMG_1938 IMG_1939 IMG_1940 IMG_1935 IMG_1937 IMG_1936 IMG_1934

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