Mission: The Museum of Anthropology broadens the understanding of human behavior, past and present, through research and preservation of ethnographic and archaeological materials, and by using best practices to ensure that voices of the people whose objects we care for are heard, respected, and acknowledged.
The Museum of Anthropology (MoA) serves the research and teaching needs of the University of Missouri, provides exhibitions and programs for the general public, and serves as an archaeological curation facility for the state of Missouri. 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 collections comprise of artifacts dating from around 9,000 BC to modern times. Among the thousands of objects cared for by the museum are ethnographic materials and objects from many cultures around the world, with the largest number being from North America, Africa, Asia, and South America. The MoA also cares for the Grayson Archery Collection and includes it in the museum’s special collections. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive collection of archery equipment and archery-related objects in the world. Other special collections are the Sutton Collection of African weaponry and our comprehensive collection of archival materials which support the research of the collections as a whole.
The museum has established and cherished relationships with regional Native American groups who we work with in our efforts to ensure that objects related to their heritage are shared in manner that respectfully represents them. The University of Missouri sits on the traditional homelands of the Missouria, Otoe, Osage, Sac and Fox peoples, as well as countless others whose names are lost to time.