Mission: The Museum of Anthropology broadens the understanding of human behavior, past and present, through research, interpretation, and preservation of ethnographic and archaeological materials.
The Museum of Anthropology collections were created in 1885 when the University of Missouri began accepting gifts of ethnographic materials. These items were organized into the Museum of Ethnology in 1902, and the name Museum of Anthropology was formally adopted in 1939.
The Museum is the only anthropology museum in Missouri and one of only a few in the Midwest. The archaeological collection comprises artifacts dating from around 9,000 BC to modern times, including the largest holding of prehistoric Missouri artifacts in the world. Among the thousands of objects the Museum curates is a collection of ethnographic materials and objects from many cultures around the world, the largest number being from Africa, Asia, and South America.
The Grayson Archery Collection is included in the Museum’s special collections. It is the largest and most comprehensive collection of archery equipment and archery-related objects in the world. Additionally, the Museum holds the Fay Library of anthropological books and periodicals, the Sutton Collection of African weaponry, and archival materials relating to various collections.
The Museum of Anthropology continues to serve the research and teaching needs of the University of Missouri, provide exhibitions and programs for the general public, and serve as an archaeological curation facility for the state of Missouri.