Museum Anthropology Course

Museum Anthropology student research cedar items

In the Museum Anthropology course, taught by Lisa Young at the University of Michigan, students learn about the changing role of anthropology museums from colonial collecting institutions to organizations that collaborate with the communities from which museum collections originated. To gain experience working with museum objects, students researched the history of objects from the ethnobotanical and related ethnographic collections curated at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology (UMMAA) and help created content for this website.

After their detailed examination of the collections and related field notes, the students learned about the cultural context of the objects directly from members of the community of origin. Students visited museum exhibits that featured Indigenous voices, watched video interviews of Indigenous artists, and read publications by Indigenous authors. This portion of the course culminated in student-led conversations with members of the Anishinaabe community using videoconferencing technology. 

In 2020, students in the Museum Anthropology course worked in teams to develop content for an exhibit for the University of Michigan's Museum of Natural History (UMNHM).  The idea for this website developed from discussions about how to expand exhibit content and to provide additional access to the information and items that Jones collected beyond the physical exhibit.

In 2022, Museum Anthropology student teams helped developed content for the website pages on  the collections from Walpole Island.  In addition, students from a course on scientific illustration taught by Patricia Beals made detailed drawings of many of these items.  You can see a selection of their drawings HERE.

Click on the links below to learn more about this exhibit, the many people who contributed to this project, and the resources used to create the exhibit and website.