“Museum Evolution: How University Museums Continue to Advance Anthropology” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting

Chicago, November 20-24, 2013

Session Organizer: Jennifer Kirker-Priest (Northern Illinois University)

This session seeks to stimulate a dialogue about the current role of anthropology museums at universities and how they advance the field of anthropology. Originally founded for the simple purpose of supporting faculty research and teaching, university anthropology museums today juggle complex demands from university administration, faculty, donors, students, and visitors to serve multiple publics in a variety of ways. The evolution of university anthropology museums to this new environment has not been uniform or universally successful. From minor modifications in collections policies or interpretive planning to institution-wide changes such as new mission statements, staff restructuring, and even closure, university anthropology museums have made significant effort to re-envision themselves and make anthropology relevant to new audiences. Much has been published about the future of museums in general, including recent scholarship on the Future of Ethnographic Museums in Europe (e.g. 2013 conference at Pitt Rivers Museum, U.K.); however, little attention has been paid to the particular role of anthropology museums on university campuses. How can university anthropology museums implement new and effective strategies in a rapidly evolving museum field, while simultaneously promoting academic anthropology? Museum professionals and anthropologists are invited to contribute papers that address this question and articulate the unique contributions of university anthropology museums to the study and advancement of anthropology today.

Abstracts should be submitted by email to Jennifer Kirker-Priest ([email protected]) by Wednesday March 13 with the following information:


-Institutional Affiliation

-Paper Title

-250-word abstract

-Contact information