Museum of Anthropology

History of the Museum

The Museum of Anthropology had its beginnings in 1894 when Charles R. Conner, president of the Board of Regents of what was then Washington State College, acquired 2 "carloads" of museum specimens while attending the Chicago World's Fair. These items were combined with other materials on campus to form the core of the Washington State College Museum of Natural History.

During 1949–1950, the Natural History Museum was divided by discipline, and anthropological specimens were transferred to the Department of Anthropology. Some of the ethnographic materials were in display cases in Todd Hall on campus from 1951 to 1963, but most were placed in storage in the Todd basement. In 1963, the displayed materials were also put in storage.

All these materials remained in storage until September 1968, when they were transferred to the new Museum of Anthropology in the neighboring building, Johnson Tower. Most historic artifacts held by the anthropology department were transferred to "well-established historical collections in the Northwest Region" in accordance with a directive from the university president.

The museum in Johnson Tower was extensively remodeled in 1975.

In 1984 the museum (along with all the branches of the anthropology department) moved to its current space in College Hall. Currently, the public area of the museum is 2,500 square feet, with a preparation room and an environmentally controlled storage vault equipped with a "movable aisle" storage system.


Photo: College Hall
The museum is on the first floor of College Hall.

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Museum of Anthropology, PO Box 644910, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4910 • 509-335-3441 • Contact Us