The Anthropology Department collaborates with other museum staff on anthropology-related exhibits and programming while also maintaining traditional collections-based curatorial and research activities. Staff members work with tribal communities, state and federal agencies, community groups, and other scholars and scientists on projects ranging from ethnographic research and collecting, to archaeological research and fieldwork, to education and interpretation.
The In Honor of the People website is a critical first step toward a virtual reunification of Whipple objects held in multiple institutions. Our first phase, a partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society and funded through the Legacy Amendment, brings together nearly 500 objects from the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Minnesota Historical Society. Learn more.
Minnesota Original: Ethnology Collection
The Science Museum of Minnesota preserves over 25,000 ethnographic objects from around the world. Core collections include material culture from American Indian, Mayan, Hmong, African, Oceanic, and Amazonian culture groups. According to Curator of Ethnology Tilly Laskey, the collection is one of the "best kept secrets in the Midwest." Learn More
Jim Denomie's "Non Negotiable"
Ojibwe painter Jim Denomie talks about "Non Negotiable," one of the Science Museum's newest ethnology accessions made possible with a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Learn More
Spring Lake Archaeology
Archaeology curator Dr. Ed Fleming is leading a team on a research expedition to the Ranelius site in Spring Lake. Follow along as they put together the clues to discover when the site was occupied, who was there and how they interacted with their neighbors, and what the site tells us about the history of the Mississippi River. Learn More
Current projects and research include:
Red Wing Archaeology
The Red Wing Archaeology project is an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional project with the goal to collect, study, and care for archaeological collections from this fascinating region.
Ethnobotany is the study of how people of a particular culture and region make use of indigenous plants. The museum has entered into a partnership to develop a native garden from seeds culled from the Hiller collection.
Collecting Mexican Folk Art
The museum's Cordry Intern recently returned after three months studying the pottery production of the famed Aguilar sisters in the Mexican village of Ocotlán de Morelos, Oaxaca.
Cordry Internship in Latin American Folk Art
The Science Museum of Minnesota has extensive archaeological and ethnological collections from Latin America. Recent research and exhibitions have emphasized textiles from Chiapas, Mexico, and ceramics from Central America.
Cuneiform Project with the University of Minnesota The Anthropology Department is working on a joint project with the University of Minnesota's Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies studying cuneiform tablets in the collections of both institutions.
Since its inception in 1907, archaeological and ethnographic collections have been a part of the Science Museum of Minnesota, and have since grown significantly through additions from across the United States and around the world. Emphasized in the collections are artifacts of American Indian cultures of the Plains and Upper Midwest, Hmong material culture, textiles and masks of the Highland Maya of Chiapas, Mexico, and ceramics of Mexico and Central America. Anthropology staff, in conjunction with Collections Services staff, are working on computerizing anthropology collections records and images to allow for better management of collections as well as access by visiting scholars and scientists and the general public.
For more information, email or call (651) 221-9435.