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Anthropology

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.

Oneota pottery from the Sheffield SitePrehistoric Pottery Links St. Croix's Past and Present
About 700 years ago, someone from a village of Native American people we call the Oneota went down to the St. Croix River near present-day Marine on St. Croix and gathered mussel shells. They ground the shells into a powder, mixed it with clay, and created pottery which was used for storing food or cooking.

The Science Museum spent last summer studying and excavating part of the site. Learn More

 

Spring Lake ArchaeologySpring 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

 

shirtIn Honor of the People: Exploring American Indian culture in the Bishop Whipple Collections
Henry Whipple was Minnesota's first Episcopalian minister, appointed in 1859. He was an avid collector of American Indian objects, and an advocate for the Ojibwe and Dakota people living in Minnesota.

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.

 

Billie Foreman Collection of Tribal ArtBillie Foreman Collection of Tribal Art
Ever wonder how an object gets into the Science Museum's permanent collection? Follow along as we process 260 Oceanic and African ethnographic pieces from the Billie Foreman Collection of Tribal Art. View the Video

 

Jim Denomie's Non NegotiableJim 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

Current projects and research include:

Image of a vase. 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.

Three Sisters Garden Ethnobotany Project
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 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.

Image of cloth with flowers 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.

Image of cuneiforms 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.

American Indian Art and Culture in the Bishop Whipple Collection American Indian Art and Culture in the Bishop Whipple Collection
Henry Whipple was Minnesota's first Episcopalian minister, appointed in 1859. He was an avid collector of American Indian objects, and an advocate for the Ojibwe and Dakota people living in Minnesota.

About the Anthropology Department

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.