The Onward Project

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Elizabeth Kahn, Founding Director/CEOFounding Director/CEO

Elizabeth Kahn

is the founding director of The ONWARD Project. She worked as an assistant supervising archaeologist, excavating for two seasons with Avraham Biran in the City of the Golden Calf, Tel Dan, Israel. After a side-trip to Greece the study of the Greek vase became her obsession. Elizabeth did her graduate work under Dr. Warren Moon, whose research focused on the social and political iconography of Greek Vases. She assisted Moon on the much-cited collection of eighteen illustrated essays, Art and Iconography, emanating from a 1981 eponymous symposium that included the Classicists John Boardman, Dietrich von Bothmer, Joan Mertens, and Cornelius Vermeule. Elizabeth was offered the position of Production Editor in Publications at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and during her thirty-three years managed major scholarly publications for the Department of Antiquities as well as groundbreaking projects in contemporary art such as California Video, and the publications related to the pioneering Getty initiative, Pacific Standard Time. For eleven years Elizabeth concurrently acted as a guest curator for the Archaeological Collections Facility at UCLA, on the Rainbow Bridge-Monument Valley Expedition collections before founding The ONWARD Project as a non-profit corporation. Due to her immersion in the study of the hidden narratives in the panels of Greek vases, she became equally fascinated by the multiple layers of stories of the Expedition that lie within the extensive archives, the landscape, and in the memories of those who participated and those who lived and still live on the land defined by the Expedition. It is this humanist view that holds endless possibilities for communicating history in a completely new way when harnessed with the latest visualization technologies available.
Allison Fischer-Olson, Head of ResearchHead of Research

Allison Fischer-Olson

holds a B.A. in Anthropology and an M.A. in American Indian Studies from UCLA. She was introduced to the ONWARD Project while working at the Fowler Museum at UCLA and has been involved ever since. Her academic interests focus around intersections between Museum Studies and American Indian Studies, particularly issues of representation, working collaboratively with Native communities, working within multiple knowledge systems, and transformations of museum space. She is based in Eugene, Oregon.
Madi Fair, Head of Social Media/ProductionHead of Social Media/Production

Madi Fair

is a creative-minded social media director and general coordinator based in Los Angeles. She holds a BS in Art from the University of Wisconsin and loves to plan a good party with the best food. She has a deep interest in design, illustration, photography and all things colorful.
Lithuania Denetso, ResearcherResearcher

Lithuania Denetso

is a researcher for The ONWARD Project and granddaughter to Max Littlesalt, Navajo guide and interpreter for the Rainbow Bridge Monument Valley Expedition in the 1930's. Lithuania was born on the Navajo Reservation and lived there until her parents moved the family to Tucson, Arizona in 1985. Her family continues to visit Tsegi Canyon to help shear sheep and for other family obligations. Her father, a pilot and navigator in Vietnam is a world history buff and spoke often about their family's unique history. Since helping her mother obtain her birth certificate in Arizona, Lithuania has been hooked on investigating her family's past.
Ben Benjamin, TechnologistTechnologist

Ben Benjamin

is a writer/programmer based in Los Angeles. He loves storytelling and seeks to represent the ‘fun’ in functional. He is the creator of The ONWARD Project’s current website.
Marydee Donnan, ArchivistArchivist

Marydee Donnan

is based in Los Angeles and worked on organizing a 165,000 image archive of Moche (Pre-Inca culture from Peru) people. She also worked on Native American Pre-Colombian Studies at the Smithsonian. Marydee fell in love with the Southwest when she moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and was able to explore it. She archives the humongous amount of images attached to The Onward Project.
Ron Maldonado, ConsultantConsultant

Ron Maldonado

has lived and worked on the Navajo Reservation for more than twenty-five years. Ron has been a professional archaeologist for 40 years and has a deep interest in history and reading.
Eric Hanson, VR SpecialistVR Specialist

Eric Hanson

is Principal, xRez Studio and Associate Professor of the Practice of Cinematic Arts, University Southern California. Eric is a visual effects designer who has worked with leading visual effects houses. His work can be seen in “The Day After Tomorrow”, “Cast Away”, “Fantasia 2000”, and “The Fifth Element”, among others. Recent work at xRez has led to collaborations with Frontline/ PBS, the Navajo Nation & Ai Weiwei, the Smithsonian, and the Dunhaung Foundation. He has authored four educational DVDs on digital environment creation for The Gnomon Workshop, as well as having published two books on Maya technique. At the USC School of Cinematic Arts he leads curriculum in cinematic VR and visual effects.
Peter Kirby, Media SpecialistMedia Specialist

Peter Kirby

is a media producer, editor, and photographer. He works with museum design and curatorial teams creating documentaries and media for installations, and also produces and edits media presentations for artists. His clients include the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the J. Paul Getty Museum; the Getty Conservation Institute; the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; the Fowler Museum at UCLA; the Hammer Museum at UCLA; the Auckland War Memorial Museum; and numerous galleries and artists.
Hans Baumann, ArtistArtist

Hans Baumann

holds degrees from Harvard University and Prifysgol Caerdydd and has lectured at a number of institutions, including the Universitat Bern Institute of Art History, Harvard University and the University of Washington College of Built Environment. His projects and essays have been published in a variety of periodicals, including The Stranger, Diacritics and SciArt Magazine, and he has received grant and project support from institutions such as 4Culture, Cornell University's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, the Landscape Research Group, and the Center for Land Use Interpretation. Hans currently resides in Los Angeles.
Kurt Hauser, Graphic DesignerGraphic Designer

Kurt Hauser

designs the overall look of the The Onward Project materials in print and on the web. This project is of personal interest to him, as his mother's best friend authored a book on the Wetherill’s, an important family in the RBMVE history. Kurt graduated from Art Center College of Design and works as a graphic designer, usually wearing a blue shirt.
Ailish Ulmann, Environmental ConsultantEnvironmental Consultant

Ailish Ulmann

is an environmental and creative consultant based in Los Angeles. A recent USC alum, Ailish is combining her background in scientific research and virtual reality content production to help shape the way people think about global environmental issues.
Claire Perrott, ResearcherResearcher

Claire Perrott

is a third-year graduate student at the University of Arizona studying Latin American history with an emphasis on culture and landscape in twentieth century Mexico. Her research interests also extend to the American Southwest and the Rainbow Bridge Monument Valley Expeditions in the 1930's. With a focus on how different groups of people interpreted their environment, Claire looks at how landscape shapes culture.
Lili Flores Raygoza, Multimedia Artist and VideographerMultimedia Artist and Videographer

Lili Flores Raygoza

Lili Flores Raygoza is a multimedia artist for The ONWARD Project. As a researcher with a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA, her interests include critical curatorial practices and the negotiation of identity through language and the body. Her experiences working with The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, The Fowler Museum, The Will Rogers Historic Ranch House Museum and The Hammer Museum inform the way she engages with culturally sensitive material within museum collections and broader architectural metropolitan contexts. Currently– Lili is pursuing a Ph.D at UCLA Arts, within the department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance.
Jamison Gilmour, VideographerVideographer

Jamison Gilmour

is a videographer, filmmaker, and cinematic cosmonaut based in Los Angeles. After spending a year studying film production in the Czech Republic, he returned to Los Angeles, and found his way to the ONWARD project. He believes visual storytelling is key to entering into new dimensions of narrative.
PaleoWest, Archaeologists and 3D ModelersArchaeologists and 3D Modelers


provides cultural resource consulting services to help plan projects around archaeological sites, historic properties, traditional cultural properties, and other cultural resource constraints. PaleoWest has pioneered the use of photogrammetry (digital photography for mapping) and 3D modeling to provide both standalone work products and enhance the efficiency and quality of traditional archaeological work.Using cameras mounted on poles, kites, and aerial drones (the use of which is allowed under PaleoWest's FAA Section 333 exemption), PaleoWest's standard procedure is to photogrammetrically map features, sites, and landscapes during inventory and excavation projects. This creates a rich, immersive record in three dimensions that is superior to traditional photographic and hand-drawn maps. Shawn Fehrenbach and Ben Hammer have worked for The Onward Project to successfully map the 3D terrain of the sites of the RBMV Expedition. The Onward Project will continue to work with them in order to create an immersive Virtual Reality experience through the landscape.

Board Members

Elizabeth Kahn


is the founding director of The ONWARD Project. She worked as an assistant supervising archaeologist, excavating for two seasons with Avraham Biran in Israel and did her graduate work under Dr. Warren Moon. Elizabeth was the Production Editor in Publications at the J. Paul Getty Museum for thirty-three years and acted as the guest curator for the Archaeological Collections Facility at UCLA.

Leslie Rollins

Vice President

has worked in art book publishing for more than twenty years with major art institutions around the world, specializing in rights management and content licensing. Her academic background is in international relations and cultural and intellectual history.

Carla Fantozzi

Financial Officer

has a deep background in museum education with different institutions in Los Angeles where she directed the education programs at the Barnsdall Art Park and Museum of Television and Radio. For the past 13 years she has worked for the Virginia Avenue Park in Santa Monica, CA as the Park Director where she oversees park programs and services aligning programs with best practice research and model programs to establish the Virginia Avenue Park as a hub for the community.

Annie Danis

is a Social Science Matrix Fellow in the department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley. Her work explores the intersection of art and archaeology through a sensory approach to historic landscapes. Work in the prehistoric, historic, and contemporary past has brought Annie to Dakhla Oasis, Egypt, Abiquiu, New Mexico, St. Catherine’s Island, Georgia, and Los Angeles and Albany, California to explore the intersections of time and place.

Ron Maldonado

has 40 years of experience as an archaeologist and cultural resources manager in the American Southwest. He served as the Cultural Resources Compliance Officer in the Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Department from 1998 to 2015 and was acting Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Navajo Nation from 2013 to 2015.

Lisa Gilmour

A marketing professional with over 30 years extensive marketing communications experience in both technology and non-profit markets. During the last 4 years of an 11 year career at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), my work was focused on brand, brand image, brand experience and PanCAN’s brand promise, as well as messaging strategy and creative oversight on all constituent-facing communications.

Todd Lerew

Todd Lerew is Director of Special Projects for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, producing exhibitions and public programs at the LA Public Library. He is the author of Specific Museums of Greater Los Angeles (2018) and has lectured on the historical museum-scape of Southern California. He holds an MFA in Experimental Sound Composition from the California Institute of the Arts, has invented musical instruments such as the Quartz Cantabile which converts heat into sound, and was winner of the 2014 American Composers Forum National Composition Contest. He is a volunteer Fire Lookout at Keller Peak in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Mabelle Drake-Hueston

I am originally from Navajo Mountain, Utah which is located in the northwest corner of the Navajo reservation. I left home to attend Dartmouth College and then Harvard Graduate School of Education. I worked at California State Long Beach as a Student Life and Development Coordinator, the Southern California Indian Center, Torres Manual TANI; counseled high academic achievers as they applied as first-generation college students at Wallace Community College-Selma; and as a First Grade teacher in my community school in Navajo Mountain, Utah. I have been very actively involved and served in many capacities with Dartmouth College for 35 years and currently serve on the President’s Leadership Council and a founding member of the Compassio Committee, providing support for classmates, and their families in need. I currently serve on the John Hopkins Center for American Indian Health “We Are One” campaign advisory board. In its third decade, Johns Hopkins partners with tribes, including mine, to improve the health and well-being of tribal members.

Advisors To The Board

Judy Spiegel, Lithuania Denetso, Charlie Littlesalt, Jack Turner, Tom Gambling, Kurt Hauser, Michael Leventhal


Wendy Teeter, Jack Turner, Kurt Hauser, Karimah Kennedy Richardson

Special Thanks

Jack Turner and the Museum of Northern Arizona

For our signature cover photo: the lantern slide and black and white photograph.

Jack Turner and the Museum of Northern Arizona

Radha Vishnubhotla

For her timeless, animated rendering of photographer Brad Mckee

Radha Vishnubhotla

Madi Fair

For all of the illustrated portraits on this page

To those who made this website possible

Ben Benjamin, technologist and designer; Kurt Hauser, graphic designer, Madi Fair, production coordination and artist; Beryl Kahn, writer; Allison Fischer-Olson, head of research; Ron Maldonado, archaeologist and consultant; Peter Kirby, filmmaker; Marydee, image management; Jamison Gilmour, videographer; Stacey Abarbanel, writer, editor, marketing consultant; Lynne Brodhead Clark, development consultant; Adelaide Kahn, review and assessment; Corin Kahn, legal counsel.