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The Anthropology Museum at Northern Illinois University

2012 - 2013 Annual Report


Welcome to the New Anthropology Museum, This year, the Anthropology Museum celebrates its 49th year at NIU. Founded in 1964 as part of the new Department of Anthropology, the Museum was founded to engage students and faculty with rich ethnographic and archaeological collections. Revitalized with new staff and new facilities, the Museum is now stronger than ever and excited to inspire new generations to the adventure of anthropology. In the words of NIU President John Peters, the new Museum and Cole Hall now honor our heritage, serve as a tribute to the NIU Huskie spirit and demonstrate how technology can enrich the classroom experience. Designed by the architectural firm Cordogan, Clark and Associates, the new Museum features a welcoming façade of glass object cases that provide a glimpse of the exhibits within. The interior space is dynamic, easily changing to accommodate each exhibition. State-of-the-art lighting, security systems, and HVAC systems ensure a stable climate for the preservation of museum objects. The Museum has been a whirlwind of activity this year. The Museum’s collection of more than 12,000 objects was moved out of temporary storage and into the renovated Collections area in the basement of Cole Hall. Students were hired to assist in every aspect of packing, tracking, moving and unpacking the collection objects. Dozens of NIU classes scheduled specialized tours with Museum staff to augment their curriculum. Thousands of visitors came to experience anthropology through Museum exhibits and programs, including the Governor of Illinois! We have exciting plans underway for next year and look forward to sharing them with you at the Museum.


2012 - 2013 Annual Report

Visitors = 1889

125% increase over average museum attendance at Stevens Building

Student Engagement

Graduate Assistants, Ashlee Craig and Kweku Williams, acquired ex tensive career experience in museum work, especially collections moving, management, and exhibition development. They worked as a team with museum staff in regular operations and made major contributions to production of exhibitions. Undergraduate students packed, moved and unpacked over 10,000 museum objects from Stevens to Cole Hall: Cassie Colon (anthropology), Rachel Rudolph (theater), Claire Mrzlak (history), Tom Passas (theater), Karissa Kessen (anthropology), Nicole Bodenstein (anthropology), Olivia Sandstrom (fine arts), and Francesca Zombowski (anthropology). Anthropology graduate students were trained as supervisors for the collections move: Adam Kutryb, Molly Fitzpatrick, Anna Kordek, and Dustin Hume. Undergraduate Research Assistants: Michael Janas, Anthropology major, Fall semester 2012; research for Beyond Machu Picchu exhibition Claire Mrzlak, History major with Anthropology minor, Spring 2013; collections research and curatorial assistant Undergraduate internship: Paige Drauden, Anthropology major, Spring 2013; coordinated logistics for 41st Annual Conference of the Midwest Andean Archaeologists at NIU in February 2013 and created a unique database of over 150 university museums with anthropology collections in the U.S.


2012 - 2013 Annual Report

Faculty Engagement Fall 2012 HIST 370 with Dr. Natalie Joy: hands-on lab provided so students could experience historic Native American objects first hand ILAS 225 with Dr. Patricia Henry: loaned Indonesian shadow puppets to show to class; provided tour of Rarely Seen Southeast Asia exhibit ART 565 with Jo Burke: provided special tour to Intro to Museum Studies class -Dr. Andrea Molnar: extra credit was given to students who visited the museum


Winter 2013 ART 294 with Dr. Catherine Raymond: tour of museum and collections area HIST 295 with Dr. Natalie Joy: 2 separate days of tours, one class period spent in collections storage and one class period in exhibitions area HIST 592 with Dr. Stanley Arnold: special program in which both Director and Curator discussed special issues in exhibition development and design ART 565 with Dr. Sinclair Bell: provided special tour to Intro to Museum Studies class ANTH 120 with Dr. Judith Calleja: tour of exhibitions area ANTH 220 with Dr. Susan Russell: graduate assistants Kweku Williams and Ashlee Craig gave a tour of their exhibition in Holmes Student Center ANTH 491/591 with Dr. Kerry Sagebiel: provided complete ceramic vessels for ceramic analysis in class


2012 - 2013 Annual Report

Exhibitions Weavings from Asia Let’s Play: Toys and Games from around the world Fast Food Nation 10,000BC Student curated exhibit Mending Our Unraveled Tapestry Student curated exhibit Rarely Seen Southeast Asia Saving Endangered Species Travelling exhibit from Bell Museum Water for Life Touch the Sky Travelling photography exhibit by Jim Brandenburg Dancing with Spirit: Korean Masks Exhibit on loan from Kathy Foley


Student Spotlight NIU undergraduate student Claire Mrzlak began working at the Anthropology Museum at the beginning of her senior year. Hired as a one semester Collections Move Assistant, Claire’s interest in anthropology led her to be hired for the remainder of the academic year as a Collections Assistant. From inventorying ancient mastodon bones to modern African beadwork, her work in the museum’s collections is always fascinating. “My favorite thing about working at the Anthropology Museum is that every day is different,” Claire says. “Every time I come into work I never know what I’m going to unwrap or discover from people’s past lives.” Her work at the Anthropology Museum, as well as previous archaeological dig experience in Ireland, has encouraged Claire to pursue a graduate degree from the National University of Ireland at Galway next year. “My work here has given me the push to pursue further education in pursuit of a Masters in Landscape Archaeology so that I can better understand cultural diversity.” Congratulations, Claire!


2012 - 2013 Annual Report

Staff Spotlight Laura McDowell Hopper is a museum professional focused on collections management and the development of engaging, community driven exhibits. Prior to joining the Anthropology Museum as Curator, she worked at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in the role of Exhibit and Collections Manager. Laura earned a master’s degree in Public History from Loyola University Chicago and a bachelor’s in History and Museum Studies from Michigan State University.

She has worked in museums since 2005 and has previous experience at the Michigan State University Museum, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies, Newberry Library, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. In 2010 she received the New Professional Award from the National Council on Public History and was the recipient of the 2012 Malkovich Award for a Young Museum Professional from the Illinois State Historical Society. Since 2012, she has served on committees for the Association of Registrars and Collections Specialists. diversity.” Congratulations, Claire!


2012 - 2013 Annual Report

Publicity Article in Northern Now, the NIU Alumni magazine, winter 2012 Article in the DeKalb County Historical Society newsletter, fall 2012 Article in the Northern Star, fall 2012 Commercial finalized and launched fall 2012 Semesterly articles in NIU Today International coverage for Peru exhibition and programming Social media attention up 35% since July 2012


Events Grand Opening February 2012 Exhibit opening for Rarely Seen Southeast Asia in October 2012 Extended hours and reception for the 41st Annual meeting of the Midwest Andean Archaeologists in February 2013 Visit by the Governor on February 14, 2013

Acquisitions 12 West African objects from the Gaples collection at the Logan Museum at Beloit College

Fundraising Grant awarded for $5000 from the Illinois Humanities Council to support

Beyond Machu Picchu: Culture and Identity in the Andes Direct mail campaign in February 2013 to over one thousand alumni of NIU Anthropology program


NIU Anthropology Museum Annual Report  

2012-2013 NIU Anthropology Museum Annual Report

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