Welcome to the Anthropology Museum

Rachel Rudolph, Anthony Tumpag and Richard Cooler

If you are interested in researching artifacts of the Anthropology Museum collection, please contact the director Jennifer Kirker Priest at jkirker@niu.edu.

History

The Anthropology Museum at Northern Illinois University was founded in 1964 and is operated as part of the Department of Anthropology. The museum houses over 12,000 objects comprised mostly of ethnographic material with some archaeological material. 

The museum specializes in cultures of Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and the Southwest and Plains Native Americans.  In addition, the museum holds smaller collections from Africa, modern Greece, Mesoamerica, and South America.  The museum is particularly proud of the Native American basket collection, featuring over 200 specimens, as well as the Indonesian textile collection, which contains over 600 pieces.  In addition, the museum also houses about 100 different Indonesian shadow puppets, a fine collection of Thai khon masks, and important collections of Hmong and Karen artifacts.  The museum has a growing collection of modern Mesoamerican artifacts reflecting the cultural and artistic changes taking place in modern Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.

 

Mission Statement

MISSION: The Anthropology Museum fosters imagination, curiosity and an appreciation for cultural diversity by providing dynamic educational experiences that explore the field of anthropology.

VISION: The Anthropology Museum distinguishes itself among university museums as a groundbreaking center for creative engagement where interdisciplinary approaches to the study of humans for creative engagement unite campus and regional communities.

VALUES

COLLECTIONS STEWARDSHIP: The Anthropology Museum exemplifies the highest standards of the museum profession and serves as an excellent example for best practices in collections stewardship.  By providing stable, secure and environmentally sound conditions for the permanent collections, the Anthropology Museum will demonstrate integrity and accountability in collections management. 

EDUCATION: As an important part of Northern Illinois University, the Anthropology Museum promotes excellence in education through original research, innovative exhibitions, and engaging programs.  In support of NIU’s strategic imperatives, the Museum strengthens the educational environment, demonstrates the regional and global impact of NIU scholarship, and serves as a cultural destination for both the university and regional communities.

COMMUNITY: The Anthropology Museum will foster a shared sense of community by extending its programs beyond campus to include local and regional audiences.  The Museum’s programs engage diverse audiences in content that is relevant and meaningful to their lives.