The Museum's exhibits are the product of collaboration by many members of the greater West Chester University community. Exhibit development involves substantive planning by student co-curators in West Chester University's Museum Studies Program, collaboration with faculty experts across disciplines and departments on campus, expert input from guest collaborators who also act as content advisors, and, of course, interactions with our welcomed visitors.
Surrounded by the Spirits: Paul Stoller and the Songhay Journey Towards Wellbeing
September 29, 2023 – December 1, 2024
Opening reception: September 29, 2023 at 6:30 pm
Honoring the life work of renowned anthropologist Paul Stoller, Surrounded by the Spirits: Paul Stoller and the Songhay Journey Towards Wellbeing invites us to experience the culture of West Africa, and gain profound insights into holistic healing practices that place us in harmony with the social, natural and spiritual worlds. With rare artifacts from Niger and Ghana, the exhibition examines the varied healing practices of the Songhay people of Niger—including spirit possession, witchcraft and divination, Islamic religious devotion, and traditional medicine. A second retrospective gallery looks at the life of Stoller, who trained as a Songhay sorcerer’s apprentice, conducted urban ethnography among the West African diaspora, and is internationally recognized for his evocative and accessible writing style. A professor of anthropology at West Chester University for his entire career, Stoller is the author of nearly 15 books and the recipient of numerous awards including the Anders Retzius Medal given by the King of Sweden, the highest honor in anthropology.
Beyond the Bell: Philadelphia’s Global Heritage
Now open in the Museum
In partnership with the Global Philadelphia Association, this special exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention by exploring the rich heritage of Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and its famed Liberty Bell was one of the U.S.’ first World Heritage sites, deemed to be of universal human value for its importance in the creation of the world’s first Enlightenment-era Republic. However, the exhibition delves beyond this colonial narrative to show that Philadelphia’s global heritage is the result of continuous interactions of diverse communities over time.
With rare artifacts on loan from the National Parks Service, Lest We Forget Museum, Landis Valley Museum, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, among others; and original works by numerous Philadelphia-based artists such as Diane Keller, Ana Vizcarra Rankin, Salome Cosmique and Sue Chen, Beyond the Bell’s exhibits on labor, immigration, transportation, fashion and arts, festivals, sports and pop culture reveal the richness and global importance of the “City of Brotherly and Sisterly Love.”
Special exhibition hours:
Or by appointment
Earth Day at 50: Lessons for a Sustainable Future
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Earth Day, the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology's exhibition, Earth Day at 50: Lessons for a Sustainable Future, explores past and present environmental activism both nationally and locally, the reality of the current global climate crisis, and sustainable practices for a livable future. Open Mon-Friday 9 am - 5 p.m.
WCU 150: History and Heritage
A once-in-a-lifetime experience! In celebration of West Chester University’s sesquicentennial anniversary, WCU 150: History and Heritage takes visitors on an exciting exploration of our first 150 years. The exhibition traces the university’s origins as a Normal School training high school-aged elementary teachers after the Civil War, to a State Teacher’s College in the Roaring ‘20s, to a comprehensive, fully public liberal arts university that has become one of the largest and most successful in Pennsylvania. Through hundreds of rarely seen artifacts, visitors will understand the university’s transformations in academics, student life, and diversity / inclusion. An interactive see-through Time Capsule caps the experience, and all are encouraged to leave their own objects for future generations!