Hostile Terrain 94 Exhibition

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From October 2021 through January 2022, the Archaeological Museum will co-host the participatory exhibition “Hostile Terrain 94” in partnership with several other entities, departments, and programs at Johns Hopkins University.

The exhibition will be an installation in the main foyer (Q-level) of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library beginning in November 2021 where it will be open to the public, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 8 pm.

This exhibition was developed by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), a non-profit research-art-education-media collective, directed by anthropologist and MacArthur winner Jason De León. It offers a visual, forensic, and intimate way to think about the human cost of migration and immigration policy along the US-Mexico border. The nature of the exhibition makes possible a visualization of the underrecognized lethal effects of a U.S. immigration strategy unfolding since 1994 known as “Prevention Through Deterrence,” and provides a literal forensics of immigration policy.

The installation is composed of approximately 3,200 handwritten toe tags that represent migrants who have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona between the mid-1990s and 2019. These tags, once written out by participants at JHU over the course of October 2021, will be geolocated on a wall map of the desert showing the exact locations where remains were found. The wall map will be displayed alongside drone footage of the terrain along the US-Mexico border. This installation is simultaneously taking place at 150 other institutions, both nationally and globally in 2020-21.

Organization and Support The exhibition is co-organized at JHU by Sanchita Balachandran, associate director of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum, and Alessandro Angelini, assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology.

This work is made possible through the generous support and partnership of many entities at JHU including The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Agora Institute; The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office; the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute; the Program in Museums and Society;  the Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries and the Sheridan Society Fund; the Program in Racism, Immigration and Citizenship; the Department of AnthropologyLatin America in a Globalizing World; the Program in International StudiesCommon Question; and the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum.

Events and Social Media Anyone interested in filling out tags for the exhibition is invited to come to the Archaeological Museum, Monday through Friday, 10:30 am to 1:30 pm to do so. If you are interested in bringing a large group or class or wish to inquire about filling out tags outside these days/times, please email us at All tags will need to be filled out in October 2021 so that they can be installed in the exhibition in November 2021. You can also request tags to take home and fill out with your family and friends or fill out with organizations/communities you work with.

You can follow the exhibition on the Archaeological Museum’s Facebook page and by looking for the hashtag #HT94JHU on all social media platforms.

Reach us at Please include the following information, as relevant: Name of class and instructor Department/Program The actual time of class and length of class Number of students The physical location of the class