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Seven Duke undergraduate students co-curated the exhibition Cultures of the Sea: Art of the Ancient Americas, in the Incubator Gallery. They organized the exhibition through a Curatorial Practicum class taught at the Nasher Museum by Julia McHugh, Ph.D., Trent A. Carmichael Curator of Academic Initiatives.

For ancient cultures on the Central and South American coasts, the ocean was both a source of livelihood and a way of life: It provided food, precious materials and divine inspiration in regions with often-severe environmental conditions. Cultures of the Sea: Art of the Ancient Americas brings together works of art from 100 BCE to the present that illustrate how the ocean shaped the cultural legacies of these civilizations. This exhibition features ceramics, textiles and carvings, many on view for the first time, from the Nasher Museum’s permanent collection.

This exhibition is accessible in person by appointment only for Duke faculty and program coordinators during the COVID-19 pandemic. If interested in making an appointment, please fill out the museum visit request form.

Incubator Exhibition Proposals

Proposals for exhibitions in the Incubator Gallery will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis, but keep in mind that organizing an exhibition may take one year or longer and scheduling is dependent on the availability of the gallery.

Please contact Julia K. McHugh, Ph.D., Trent A. Carmichael Curator of Academic Initiatives, at as soon as you have a potential idea for an exhibition.

View all Past Exhibitions in the Incubator Gallery

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The health and safety of our community is our top priority. In accordance with Duke University, the museum is closed to visitors until further notice. The café and store are closed. Find updates and the latest information on Duke’s Coronavirus Response website.