Our mission is to serve as a welcoming, vibrant center where faculty, students, and the public can connect and experience new ideas through our focus on teaching, research, collecting and public engagement. The Museum aspires to further the University’s Plan for Excellence by serving as a leader in community engagement and enhancing the quality of life for all campus community members. It is an inspiring classroom and promotes a collaborative culture of thought and inquiry by connecting academic units across the entire West Chester campus together with a larger public audience. Come visit us today!
Originally founded in 2007 as the Old Library Atrium Museum, the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology is West Chester University’s sole teaching laboratory for museum studies. In it, students learn the ins and outs of exhibit development and curation, museum administration, collections management, and audience research. The Museum maintains a permanent collection of archaeological and ethnographic materials that form the core of the museum’s exhibits; however, loans of historical, artistic, and cultural items also greatly enhance the content of the themed exhibitions.
The Department of Anthropology and Sociology houses the Museum, which is under the direction of Dr. Michael A. Di Giovine. The anthropology program’s array of museum studies, archaeology, heritage, and tourism courses provides a solid theoretical foundation on the role that objects and exhibitions play in developing interpretive narratives for public education and outreach. The Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology acts as a teaching facility in which students gain valuable hands-on experience curating an exhibit from start to finish—from brainstorming exhibition topics to planning the exhibit, from installation of artifacts to the production of a museum catalog. Past exhibits have utilized the department’s rich archaeological and ethnographic collections spanning diverse time periods, as well as private collections, and frequently involves collaboration with faculty experts across disciplines and departments at West Chester University. They have addressed topics such as Native American culture, The Silk Road, foodways, enculturation through children’s toys, and human rights. Faculty across disciplines are encouraged to utilize these exhibits in their classroom instruction.
The WCU Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology is officially part of the West Chester University Museums and Special Archives (WCUMSA), which is composed of our institution, the Francis Harvey Green Library, and the WCU Special Collections. The WCUMSA is a member of the American Alliance of Museums.
Photo Credit: Taria Rivera-Montes