Biographies for the Project Coordinators

Lace Thornberg is a museologist specializing in community-based museums. While on a Fulbright in the Philippines, she studied the potential for development of archaeological heritage tourism on Palawan Island. During the time, she worked in El Nido, Palawan helping to establish a small, community-managed cultural heritage museum. She is presently coordinating the run of Empowering Women: Artisan Cooperatives that Transform Communities at the Burke Museum. Email:

Dr. Jun Cayron is an archaeologist and heritage specialist. His research is focused on Philippine maritime prehistory, and ancient economic and social interaction, while at the same time tackling issues in Southeast Asian historical, cultural and social development that transgress different time periods, up to the modern day. His research and the courses he has taught during his university career lend him a holistic understanding of myriad Southeast Asian topics. He is the author of Stringing the Past: An Understanding of Early Southeast Asian Bead Trade. Cayron has extensive teaching experience, in both classroom and field settings, and has taught students from Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States. He is presently the Director/Curator of the Palawan State University Museum and a Social Sciences Instructor.

Janet Smoak is the Director of the Suquamish Museum. She brings a long history of collections management expertise, through previous appointments as the Executive Director of the Besser Museum in Michigan, Curator for the Utah State Historical Society, and Registrar for Marriot Library Special Collections at the University of Utah.

Dr. Peter Lape is an archaeologist specializing in the histories of social change in Island Southeast Asia over the last 5,000 years. His research focuses on island landscapes and seascapes, crosscultural interactions such as trade and warfare, human-environment dynamics and climate change. He also has an interest in archaeological practice, cultural resource management and public archaeology in the Southeast Asia and the United States. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Washington, and is also the Associate Director for Research and Curator of Archaeology at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

Laura Phillips has been the Archaeology Collections Manager at the Burke Museum for the past 19 years, caring for a collection of over one million objects, and teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in museum management and archaeological stewardship. She began her archaeological fieldwork in the Pacific Northwest in 1990, and has since worked throughout the region, specializing in public outreach archaeology and museum collaboration. She co-edited “Vashon Island Archaeology: A View from Burton Acres Shell Midden” and is currently creating a database to locate archaeological collections statewide.


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