Open May 28, 2016
Why have fermented beverages been produced in so many different cultures, for so long, and in so many ways? Brewed beverages can be made from barley, rice, maize, manioc, and even honey. Yet what these beverages have in common, besides fermentation, are their socially significant uses. In cultures around the world, people give beer important roles in ceremonies, in power relationships, in creating socially fluid gatherings, and even in medical treatment.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Haffenreffer family's gift of Rudolf Haffenreffer's private museum – now the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology – to Brown. In celebration of this, the Haffenreffer Museum Student Group has curated an exhibition devoted to beer in cultures around the world. The Haffenreffer family were brewers and owners of the Haffenreffer, Narragansett, and Fall River Breweries. Today, the museum that bears their name holds objects linked to brewing and beer consumption from a diverse range of cultures. This exhibit brings together a selection of those objects from communities in Bolivia, Peru, Kenya, Nepal, Tibet, and the United States to provide a taste of the contexts in which beer and related fermented beverages have been brewed and consumed for the past 2,500 years.