CARSON CITY – Anna Camp’s lifelong interest in Native American culture started when she was 7 and had a “museum day” with her second-grade class from Quincy Elementary School.
The field trip for the Plumas County, California youngsters started with a drive Carson City and the Nevada State Museum before heading for California’s capital city of Sacramento and another museum.
“I remember coming here as a little girl, 7 years old, and seeing the (Native American) baskets,” said Camp, who recently joined the Nevada State Museum full time as its Curator of Cultural Collections. “After I saw them, I was just thinking about them the whole way to Sacramento. I couldn’t stop thinking about Carson City.”
Camp, who worked at the Nevada State Museum as an intern and research associate, while earning her Masters and Doctorate degrees in anthropology from the University of Nevada, Reno, is a welcome addition to the staff.
“Her experience with Great Basin archaeology will be invaluable as we carry out the museum’s repatriation work,” Nevada State Museum Director Myron Freedman said. “We are delighted to have Anna on board.”
Camp’s new position was created during the 2017 Nevada Legislative session with the passage of SB244, a bill that relates to the handling of native Indian human remains, funerary objects and other cultural items.
In her role, Camp will work directly with Nevada’s tribes, the Office of Historic Preservation and the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources on developing and implementing policies outlined in the law.
“The first thing I’m going to be focusing on is getting a great dialog started between us and the local tribes, making sure we’re having good conversations and making sure everyone has their input,” Camp said. “We’re having our first meetings (in early June). I’m really excited about it. I’ve always been interested in the native voice and it being heard.”
Camp earned her Associates Degree at Feather River College and her undergraduate degree at Cal-Berkeley.
That’s where I kind of decided I liked archaeology,” she said. Her senior thesis was on the native basketry held at the Plumas County Museum. After earning her Masters at UNR, she married her husband, Nathan Molina, and they had a son, Brennen, who is now 9.
Camp worked in the private sector with Far Western Cultural Resources Management Company before returning to UNR to pursue her PhD in Anthropology. Before taking her new position, she was teaching at Napa Valley College in California.
She said returning to the Nevada State Museum has felt like a homecoming.
“The first time going into the (basketry) vault, it smelled like willow and tule and it brought back a lot of great memories,” she said. “It reminds me of what it smells like when it rains in the Great Basin. I’m really happy to be here.”