Faculty Directory

Elizabeth S. Peña

Director, Center for the Arts & Religion
Senior Lecturer in Art, Anthropology, and Museum Studies

Consortial Faculty
At the GTU since
(510) 649-2471

Elizabeth S. Peña is the Director of the Center for the Arts & Religion and Doug Adams Gallery, and Senior Lecturer in Art, Anthropology, and Museum Studies. She earned PhD and MA degrees in Archaeology from Boston University and a BA in Classical Archaeology from the University of Michigan.  As an archaeologist, arts administrator, and museum professional, she has directed archaeological field projects, managed academic departments, served as museum curator, undertaken a wide range of museum consulting projects, and participated in review panels for federal funding agencies and professional organizations. She has taught courses in archaeology, anthropology, and museum studies; at the GTU, she teaches on topics related to museums and religion, material culture theory, and object based learning. In her spare time, she is likely to be found reading or gardening. 

Degrees and Certifications
  • PhD, Archaeology, Boston University, 1990
  • MA, Archaeology, Boston University, 1987
  • BA, Classical Archaeology, University of Michigan, 1983
Research and Teaching Interests
  • Material Culture
  • Museum Collections
  • Cultural Heritage
Selected Publications
  • “History Around the Block: Neighborhood Archaeology,” in Finding History Where You Least Expect It: Site-Based Strategies for Teaching About the Past, eds. J. Gradwell and K. Leacock, 2020
  • “Leadership at all Levels,” in A Life in Museums: Managing Your Museum Career, eds. G. Stevens and W. Luke, 2012
  • “Wampum Diplomacy: The Historical and Archaeological Evidence for Wampum at Fort Niagara,” Northeast Historical Archaeology, 2007
  • “Desire and Distrust: The Paradox of Women at Old Fort Niagara,” New York History, 2004
Courses Taught
  • Matter & Spirit: Understanding Material Culture
  • Sacred Objects/Secular Spaces
  • Museums and Religion
  • Museums and Social Justice
  • Museum Collections Management I and II