The MU Museum of Anthropology reopened in its new location at Mizzou North on Sept. 17 after a three-year hiatus.
The museum originally closed due to renovations of its former location, Swallow Hall. When different academic departments were moved into the hall following the renovation, the museum relocated to the second floor of Mizzou North alongside the Museum of Art and Archaeology. The new location, though smaller in square footage, has more wall space and offers new possibilities for displays.
“We were able to do a little bit more in terms of chronological layout, trying to have exhibits that were thematic and having a brighter and more modern look where it is a little bit easier to see things,” said Alex Barker, museum director and archeology professor. “It has a little bit less of the old romance of the dusty museum, but hopefully it’s easier for people to see things and for us to talk about important topics in the human past.”
One new addition is a display of pieces from the Grayson Archery Collection, which contains archery-related materials from different cultures over the last 500 years. The total collection owned by the museum includes over 5,000 pieces of archery equipment.
“The Grayson Archery Collection is the most complete and systematic collection of archery material anywhere in the world,” Barker said.
Another feature of the new museum is a gallery where exhibits can be periodically replaced. This space currently holds a collection of kachinas, doll-like objects carved from cottonwood that are used to help young people in certain Pueblo societies learn and recognize sacred spirits.
In recognition of the museum’s reopening, MU’s anthropology department commissioned and donated a Native American ceramic vessel called a storyteller. The work, “Spring Maiden,” signifies one generation passing knowledge to another.
Representatives of the Osage Nation did a blessing of the galleries and staff before the museum opened to the…