The following list represents only a small portion of anthropology museums with an online component. This list is broken down into the following sections. Use these links to go directly to the section you choose.
(List developed by Karin Kerstetter, MA in Anthropology © 2000)
- Selected Anthropology Museums Online
- Conservation and Preservation
- Cultural Property
- Curation and Collections Management
- Museum Education
- Museum Discussion Groups
- Electronic Journals and Guides
- Professional Information
- Museum Studies and Training Programs
- Online Employment Information
- Regional Native American Resource
- Selected Online Museum Exhibitions
- Museum Search
- Internship Institutions
- Archival and Primary Source Repositories
The Field Museum, Chicago
The Field Museum has an interesting website that allows you to view online exhibits and explore their research and collections. At any given time they offer online exhibits focusing on natural history.
University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology
Although this university does not exhibit their collections for the public, this online component lets you access images and information concerning their collections. Their museum is divided into eight different collections: ethnology, Asian, North America, Great Lakes, Old World, New World, Physical and Ethnobotany.
University of British Columbia, Museum of Anthropology
This museum has a range of online exhibits featuring Northwest Coast First Nations art and artifacts. Cameras are mounted in the main gallery of the museum, and online viewers can browse the different exhibits. The museum has totem poles, feast dishes and canoes, and includes works by the Haida and Coast Salish peoples. This museum is Canada's largest teaching museum. The online component includes several virtual exhibits designed by UBC students.
The Museum for Textiles, Toronto, Canada
Collections include textiles from all over the world. Included are African items, Tibetan robes, Chinese silk embroidery, and Indonesian batiks. The web site includes an image gallery to view certain pieces from the collections.
Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, U.C. Berkeley
Hearst is a well-known anthropology museum with many interesting collections. Some of the items include California native basketry, Guatelemalan textiles, and Peruvian artifacts.
A History of the Northwest Coast
From home page, click on "A History of the Northwest Coast." This site explores the rich history of the Northwest from as early as 1774. It offers in-depth description and includes images, texts and maps.
Canadian Museum of Civilization
Exhibits focus on First Nations people, but also present material culture of other Northwest Coast tribes. Clicking on "Museum Collections" will allow you to explore examples of their different collections: archaeology, ethnology, folk culture, history, living history, and military history. By selecting "Gallery Tour," you can view the museum's Grand Hall, which includes an exhibition of six Northwest Coast Indian house facades.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Museum of Natural History
From home page, click on "Carnegie Museum of Natural History." Click on "exhibits," then "online." The exhibit titled "North, South, East, West: American Indians and the Natural World" represents art and artifacts of five different cultures, including the Tlingit.
Minnesota Children's Museum
This museum is designed for children aged 6 months to 10 years old. It contains six galleries of hands-on exploration, and the site contains descriptions of permanent and temporary exhibits. The site also includes resources for teachers and educators.
This large website offers a wide range of information, links to other Smithsonian related museums and research centers, and digitized portions of their collections. By clicking on "Museums and Research Centers" you can access links to many museums and organizations, including the National Museum of African Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Museum of Natural History.
Conservation and Preservation
Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford, England
This is an extremely useful website for individuals looking for specific methods to protect collections. The museum conservators are responsible for stabilizing and preserving objects, and must consider the environmental effects on materials. The site discusses the conservation of different materials, including metals, textiles, ceramics, and paper. Environmental controls that are discussed include lighting, air pollution, pests, handling, and storage.
American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works
This site offers a brochure discussing the conservation and preservation of various historic objects. It introduces the different conservation needs of organic and inorganic materials. The brochure offers general guidelines for preservation. Conservation strategies focus on architecture, paintings, photographs, furniture, and textiles.
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
Offered through the National Park Service, this site includes grants for training, online resources for the preservation community, and educational opportunities. Offered through the National Park Service. Go to "links," then "I'm Looking For." Select programs, such as National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, Museum Management Programs, and Archaeology and Ethnography Programs.
Object ID is an international organization that promotes the use of standards for describing art, antiques and antiquities. The standards were developed by museums, police, customs agencies and insurance companies to prevent theft and illicit trade of culturally significant objects. The organization encourages good documentation of objects so that they may be recovered more quickly and easily.
International Council on Monuments and Sites
Professional organization dedicated to the conservation of the world's historic monuments and sites. The site is used as a forum for dialogue and a tool for the collection, evaluation, and dissemination of information on conservation principles, techniques, and policies.
Cultural Protection Treaties
Treaties and other international agreements concerning cultural property from 1935 to 1996.
International Cultural Property Protection
U.S. State Department is responsible for implementing international cultural property legislation. Deals with issues of illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property. Includes links for NAGPRA and the Archaeological Resource Protection Act.
Provides links to international councils and treaties, U.S. agencies responsible for historic preservation, U.S. cultural protection legislation, and State Archaeologist Preservation offices. This site is a World Wide Web virtual library for archaeology.
National Archaeological Database: NAGPRA
Offers documents regarding legislation, legal notices, and submissions concerning NAGPRA (Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act).
National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME)
This organization seeks to foster excellence in museum exhibitions. You must pay to become a member ($15 for students), but the site offers various links to other exhibition sites.
Curation and Collections Management
Archaeology and Ethnography Program
Visitors will find guidelines for curation of federally owned and administered archaeological collections. It establishes definitions, guidelines, and procedures to be followed by federal agencies concerning the preservation of historic and prehistoric collections. Included is an extensive listing of regulations to be followed by federal agencies.
The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections
Offers a variety of resources regarding caring for natural history collections. Click on "Recommended Practice" to reach the guidelines for the care of natural history collections documents.
African Collections Management (ICOM)
This site presents a handbook of standards to be used in the documentation of African collections. The goal of this ICOM program is to protect the cultural heritage of Africa by encouraging systematic inventories of collections and facilitating the exchange of information and collecting practices.
Museum educators use museum collections to educate and inform the public in a variety of ways. Some museums create exhibit labels that "interpret" what is being represented. Interpretation is far more than simply indicating the date and use of the object - interpretation includes a deeper analysis of the cultural context of the objects. Interpretative exhibits often force museum visitors to question pre-existing assumptions, ask new questions, or consider historical or cultural "facts" from a different perspective.
Museums' personnel educate the public by providing guided tours of their facilities, by preparing traveling exhibitions to be installed elsewhere, or offering "living history" exhibits. They also offer a variety of educational programs aimed at informing different segments of society (e.g. K-12 programs or Adult Education programs). Educators often move beyond their own institutions by incorporating the cultural significance of the surrounding vicinity into their educational programs. Virtually any museum website you visit will contain information regarding that institution's education policy, including educational goals, programs, and activities.
Museum Discussion Groups
If you are interested in gaining familiarity with current issues and problems being addressed by museum professionals, you may find it useful to subscribe to one of the discussion groups listed below.
Preservation Administration Discussion Group
Texcons (Textiles Conservation Discussion List)
Electronic Journals and Guides
Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies
The Textile Society
You must pay to join this organization, but the site has good links to other sites dealing with textiles and costumes.
Connected to Archaeology Magazine, this site offers an online component of their monthly magazine.
American Anthropological Association
By clicking on "Guidelines" you will be connected to the AAA Style Guide, which contains (among many other things) the accepted format for referencing information drawn from the Web. Locate the references section, and look for Internet Documents.
Center for Museum Studies
As part of the Smithsonian Institution, this outreach office focuses on museum studies, training programs and information for museum professionals.
Museum Stuff: The Mega Site for Museum Professionals
Museum Stuff offers a wide range of information aimed at museum professionals. Clicking on Hot Topic allows you to choose from collections management or conservation.
ICOM-ICTOP Museum Training Resources
Included in this site are many resources and links for museum professionals such as technical information, education, and training information through the ICTOP (International Committee for the Training of Personnel) of the ICOM (International Council of Museums).
Museum Learning Collaborative
This site offers information on museum theory, research, and education. An annotated literature bibliography is included.
Museum Studies and Training Programs
Ball State University Historic Preservation Studies
Contains information on the Master of Science degree in historic preservation studies.
Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies
Program of mid-career training for members of the museum, library, archives, and historical preservation fields.
University of British Columbia Museum Studies Program
UBC offers a graduate degree museum program in association with the Dept. of Anthropology and Sociology. Information regarding classes and the program can be obtained at this site.
Texas Tech. University Museum Science Program
Offers a Masters program in museum science.
George Washington University Museum Studies Program
A description and posting of current information regarding the museum studies program.
University of Denver Museum Studies Program
Offers a two-year program through the Dept. of Anthropology that encourages the development of practical experience and technical skills needed for museum work.
Indiana University Museum Studies Certificate Program
University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Offers Museum Exhibition Planning and Design program.
Online Employment Information
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
Internship opportunities for each of the Smithsonian museums and research institutions.
National Park Service-Jobs and Internships
The internship program offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to gain practical experience in cultural resource management programs in the National Park Service headquarters, field offices, and parks, and in other federal agencies.
Regional Native American Resources
WWW Virtual Library - American Indians
This site is a good starting point for locating Native American sites on the Web. Sites are categorized into subjects such as culture, history, language, health, and indigenous knowledge. By clicking on "museums-links" you can visit web sites of major federal museums, such as the National Museum of the American Indian and the Library of Congress site. You may also select museums from a state-by-state listing.
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture (University of Washington)
Pacific Northwest Native Art (Seattle Art Museum)
Makah Cultural and Research Center
Yakima Valley Museum
Selected Online Museum Exhibitions
Egyptian Artifacts Exhibit at the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology
(University of Memphis, TN)
A visit to this site allows you to view a selection of Egyptian artifacts. The images are accompanied by detailed textual information about the artifacts. The site also provides links to other Egypt-related sites on the web.
Scrolls From the Dead Sea: The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Scholarship
The exhibit is part of a Library of Congress exhibit on loan by the Israel Antiquities Authority. The site describes the historical context of the scrolls and the Qumran community where the scrolls originated. You can view images of 12 scrolls and 29 other objects that are on loan.
Ethnographic Photography Exhibits (Project by Nora O'Connell)
This site contains collections of photographs documenting selected cultural features of Malawi and India. The visitor may explore different styles of dance and dress among Malawi dancers, or view toy-makers and rickshaw operators in India.
1492: An On-Going Voyage (Library of Congress)
Visitors can explore the events that occurred during this period, with emphasis on the cultural interaction of different peoples. The exhibit documents a variety of cultures, including the Caribbean, Middle America, the Andean Region, and the South Atlantic region. The information presented in this exhibit also attempts to overcome common myths regarding the European expansion into the New World.
Africa: The Art of a Continent
This excellent site exhibits contemporary African art as well as collections of historical objects and artifacts. Visitors can select specific regions in Africa and learn about the art and artifacts produced in that region. The exhibit contains beautiful photographs of artifacts as well as interesting accompanying information.
Drawing Shadows to Stone: Photographing North Pacific Peoples (1897-1902)
The archival images presented on this site come from the American Museum of Natural History Jesup North Pacific Expedition. In addition to documents such as personal correspondence, over 1200 images are represented, primarily documenting the daily lives of Pacific Islanders. This site also serves as an excellent example of the use of photography as an important research tool for anthropologists.
Collections at University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
This site offers a wide variety of fascinating online exhibits and is highly recommended.
ICOM Virtual Library Museums Page
This component lets you locate any museum that has an online site in the world.
Whatcom Museum (Bellingham, WA)
Whatcom Museum offers opportunities for Western anthropology students to gain experience in the museum/archival profession. Visit this site for an overview of the functions and goals of the Whatcom Museum Archives, with its emphasis on photographic images and related ephemera.
Lynden Pioneer Museum (Lynden, WA)
Lynden Pioneer Museum offers internship positions for Western anthropology students. Interns may learn a variety of tasks, including collections management, education, and artifact interpretation. This web site offers a glimpse into the museum, which focuses on the cultural history of Lynden and other communities in Whatcom County.
Archival and Primary Source Repositories
Searching for archival links around the world?
Visit Repositories of Primary Sources
Glenbow is one of Canada's largest non-governmental repositories. It contains photographs, textual materials, unpublished archival documents, and audio/visual materials. Click on Search the Archives, then Finding Aids in order to view the various collections. The archival repository has about 50,000 photographic images online. To browse these images, click on Photo Archives.
The Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (WWU)
Located on Western's campus, this archival repository contains numerous collections that focus on the political and cultural history of the region, with emphasis on Whatcom, Skagit, and Snohomish counties. Collections include materials such as maps, photographs, and documentation of individuals, organizations, and institutions. Some notable collections include: Northwest Tribal Indian Oral History Collection; Galen Biery Collection; and Pacific American Fisheries Collection.
University of Washington, Manuscripts and Special Collections