NIU Pick Museum of Anthropology 2016

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Anthropology 2016 ANNUAL REPORT


2016 Annual Report

Table of Contents A LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR ADVANCING our mission

through donor generosity

ENGAGING NIU Alumni with


The Pick Museum of Anthropology fosters imagination, curiosity and an appreciation for cultural diversity by providing dynamic educational experiences that explore the field of anthropology.


The Pick Museum of Anthropology distinguishes itself among university museums as a groundbreaking center for creative engagement where interdisciplinary approaches to the study of humans unite campus and regional communities.

museum objects


COLLABORATING with communities in representation




Collection Stewardship


student and faculty scholarship


collections for increased accessibility


COLLECTING objects and stories



a new generation


ADVOCATING for social justice






The Anthropology Museum exemplifies the highest standards of the museum profession and serves as an excellent example for best practices in collections stewardship. By providing stable, secure and environmentally sound conditions for the permanent collections, the Anthropology Museum will demonstrate integrity and accountability in collections management.


As an important part of Northern Illinois University, the Anthropology Museum promotes excellence in education through original research, innovative exhibitions and engaging programs. In support of NIU’s strategic imperatives, the Museum strengthens the educational environment, demonstrates the regional and global impact of NIU scholarship, and serves as a cultural destination for both the university and regional communities.


The Pick Museum of Anthropology will foster a shared sense of community by extending its programs beyond campus to include local and regional audiences. The museum’s programs engage diverse audienceS in content that is relevant and meaningful to their lives.

2016 Annual Report


A Letter from the Director It is hard to imagine a more exciting year than a 50th Anniversary, but the dedication of the James B. and Rosalyn L. Pick Museum of Anthropology heralded our best year yet. We celebrated our new name with an elegant event, award-winning exhibition and the warm company of dedicated museum friends. After reflecting on our museum history last year, this year promised a bright future with new friends, innovative ideas and exciting opportunities. The naming of the museum did not happen overnight, and is recognition of both our 50 year history and future vision. We are immensely grateful to Dr. Rosalyn Laudati and James B. Pick, Ph.D. for believing and investing in our museum and sharing our vision of a museum that strengthens the educational environment at NIU, demonstrates the regional and global impact of NIU scholarship, and serves as a cultural destination where the study of what it means to be human is explored in compelling, diverse ways.

The endowment established by James Pick and Rosalyn Laudati is transforming the museum in important and exciting ways. We now have the resources to hire a dedicated staff member to focus on exhibition research and development. By building relationships with diverse cultural groups, and conducting ethnographic research, this person will create powerful exhibitions that bring museum objects to life through the compelling stories of the people and lives they were associated with. The endowment also makes it possible for the museum to purchase objects that will enrich its permanent collections, strengthen its relationships and support the educational mission of NIU. This transformational gift provides much-needed matching funds for federal grants so we can improve collections stewardship through facility improvements, conservation treatments or other fundamental museum work. With matching funds made possible because of this new endowment, we have already received federal grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. All of these projects, new exhibitions, new acquisitions and new grants are designed to involve NIU students. With this new endowment, the museum can hire more students and provide professional, rèsumè-building experiences for student career success.

“We hope and feel that the second 50 years can be equal to the amazing first 50 years.” - James Pick, Ph.D.

After the dedication, the museum installed a dynamic exhibit which was recognized as the singular Superior Exhibition for 2016 by the Illinois Association of Museums. Originally conceived as a textile exhibit to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Hmong refugees arriving in the United States after the Vietnam War, Storytelling: Hmong American Voices grew organically into an ambitious community cocurated exhibit that not only documented local Hmong history in DeKalb County but also introduced challenging issues faced by today’s Hmong Americans. A Community Advisory Council of over 20 Hmong Americans worked with Laura McDowell Hopper to identify the themes and stories they wanted to tell in this exhibit. The resulting focus on family, displacement, patriarchy, divorce stigmas, women’s war experiences, diverse spiritualties, racism and contemporary refugees are all tackled head-on through the voices of today’s Hmong Americans. To discuss the success of the Storytelling exhibition and how it exemplifies the intersection of museums and anthropology, I travelled to Vancouver, British Columbia, for the Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology. Rachel Drochter and I both gave papers on the role of applied anthropology in strengthening university museums to

an excited group of museum anthropologists working on a variety of similar issues. We were also thrilled to witness our colleague and Fragments exhibit co-curator Mark Schuller receive the prestigious Margaret Mead award at the conference. Despite these museum successes, NIU and the state of Illinois face very real challenges. Former NIU President Doug Baker introduced Program Prioritization as an important process critical to the growth of the university and its ability to deliver on student career success. The museum did participate in this time intensive, evaluation process and hopes that indeed, Program Prioritization will lead to a stronger university for students, staff and faculty. It is important to recognize the way these various activities come together to achieve the mission and vision of the Museum. This year the Museum retained Alicia Schatteman from NIU’s Center for Governmental Studies to conduct an online survey, focus group and board/staff retreat. These meetings provided valuable information on public and campus perspectives of Museum strengths and weaknesses. These data are being used to create a new three year strategic plan and revise the mission statement to better reflect the museum’s focus on solidarity activism and human rights. In all of these activities, I am immensely grateful to curator Laura McDowell Hopper and our wonderful student colleagues who share in all of the work, success and vision of this amazing museum. It was another tremendous year for the Pick Museum of Anthropology!

Jennifer Kirker, Laura McDowell Hopper, Dr. Rosalyn Laudati and James B. Pick, Ph.D.

2016 Annual Report


ADVANCING our mission through donor generosity

“We have both served on the boards of museums and understand how challenging it is to strategize and grow a museum over many decades. The Anthropology Museum, for 51 years, has had an important influence on students at NIU. What Rosalyn and I envision is that the museum’s importance will grow and spread further for students, researchers, the Anthropology Department and museum studies programs, the community at NIU and the broader community in the Chicago area.” - James Pick, Ph.D.

Fifty years ago, NIU Professor James Gunnerson had a vision of how museum objects could bring to life the theoretical concepts and diverse cultures presented in his courses. He founded the Anthropology Museum and Laboratories so that faculty and students could explore what it means to be human through the material record of human history. By holding an object, such as the actual obsidian blade used by a Maya king in ritual self-sacrifice a thousand years ago, students can experience other cultures and be transported to other times in a much deeper way than is possible through textbooks and class presentations.

In our 51st year, the Anthropology Museum was dedicated as THE JAMES B. AND ROSALYN L. PICK MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY to honor the endowed support of generous alumni. Their unrestricted endowment makes it possible for the Museum to realize its vision to strengthen the educational environment at NIU, demonstrate the regional and global impact of NIU scholarship and serve as a cultural destination where the study of what it means to be human is shared through powerful programs and exhibitions that resonate with audiences. This transformational gift empowers the museums to hire talented NIU students and alumni for specialized careerbuilding experiences, to expand and preserve the permanent collection and to strengthen NIU’s global scholarship and international partnerships through dynamic exhibitions.

ENGAGING NIU alumni with museum objects For the dedication of the Pick Museum, the museum’s award-winning exhibition, Curated by DeKalb was updated to spotlight NIU alumni. Here is what distinguished Huskies had to say about the importance of the Pick Museum and its collection.

“The museum not only brings in objects and creates a home for them, but is also a close knit group of people and has become a home for students too.” - Kylie Robey

“The NIU Anthropology Museum brings the culture and art of many lands and people to our students, our community and especially to the many school groups they host each year.” - Dennis and Stacy Barsema

“I chose these Chinese tiger shoes due to their auspicious nature. Traditionally, tiger shoes are given to Chinese children so that they may tackle future adversities with the fierce determination of a tiger. I believe NIU likewise prepares its students to overcome obstacles with confidence, strength and unyielding tenacity.” - Sara Beth Kiliman

“When I came to study at NIU in 1981, I worked in the Anthropology Museum and was just amazed by the number of textiles from Southeast Asia.” - Julie Lamb

2016 Annual Report


COLLABORATING with communities in representation

Storytelling: Hmong American Voices opened with acclaim in early April. Cocurated with a 20-member Hmong Community Advisory Council, this collaborative exhibition explored what it means to be Hmong American, how Hmong life changed since refugees first entered the United States in the 1970s and what it means to be Hmong American today. Through objects, audio recordings and personal stories of Hmong Americans, this exhibit immersed visitors in the material culture and social issues of Hmong American communities. Visitors to the exhibition were able to view traditional Hmong clothing, learn about concepts of family and memory, play Hmong music on a Qeej-Hero interactive game, see beautiful Hmong storycloths from the museum’s collection and learn about the distinct sewing traditions. Working with the Hmong American community to collaboratively develop this exhibit was a truly eye-opening experience for curator Laura McDowell Hopper as she was continually touched and surprised by the Hmong Community Advisory Council’s willingness to share their stories, material culture and family photos for display. The Council Members’ enthusiasm in working with the museum resulted in a powerful exhibit that offered visitors a glimpse into the successes and challenges of this unique community.

Total Exhibit Visitors


Our Partners

Hmong American Advisory members came from Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Texas.

Exhibit Research 4 research trips to St. Paul, Minnesota. 1 research trip to Madison, Wisconsin. 20 + hours of oral history interviews.

Award Winning

The Illinois Association of Museums recognized Storytelling with the 2016 Superior Award for Best Practices in Exhibitions.

Total Exhibit Tours


Soul Lock Necklace Artist: Nyaj Tus Yaaj Aluminum, Late 1970s-Early 1980s New Acquisition to Permanent Collection Donated by Pastor Tsaav Asia of the First Hmong Alliance Church in Aurora, Illinois Traditionally Hmong people wear elaborate jewelry made of alloy and/or silver melted from old French coins. The coins are often attached to colorful and elaborately stitched sashes or bags worn around the waist. Contemporary Hmong silverwork combines traditional motifs with modern aesthetics. In the past, family wealth was kept in the form of silver jewelry, silver bars and coins. During celebrations, especially at New Year, women and men adorned themselves with their best silver jewelry; the wealthy wearing several necklaces on top of each other weighing up to 10 pounds. These jewelries have intricate engravings with various patterns from symmetrical shapes to flowery images.

Qeej Hero Exhibit Interactive Developed by Erik L. Peterson in collaboration with musicians Qaib Dib, 2010 The qeej is an ancient wind instrument that the Hmong people have played for thousands of years in celebrations, for entertainment and in funerary rites. Traditionally constructed entirely by hand, the qeej is fashioned from a vertical resonator built from hollowedout sections pierced by six differently sized bamboo pipes (ntiv) that are tonally connected to the Hmong language.

Contemporary trends in Hmong American aesthetic practices inspired research into the potential for the qeej to enrich the lives of Hmong American youth, to introduce the qeej to new audiences and for young people to breathe new life into the bamboo pipes of this ancient wind instrument via new technologies. In the vein of the popular karaoke-style video games Guitar Hero and Rock Band, Qeej Hero casts the Hmong qeej into the spotlight usually reserved for the guitar in American pop culture. In the game, players manipulate a plastic qeejshaped controller, pressing color-coded buttons and blowing into an air-pressure sensor to “sing� the songs, which were recorded by Qaib Dib, qeej players from St. Paul, Minnesota.

2016 Annual Report


ENHANCING student and faculty scholarship


The Year in Review by Graduate Assistant Rachelle Wilson-Loring The 2015-2016 academic year was an exciting, eventful and rewarding year for the Pick Museum Student Advocacy Board. Our student-led organization was active in engaging with and promoting our institution throughout the year. We were excited to be a part of the celebrations in October surrounding the renaming of our museum to the James B. and Rosalyn L. Pick Museum of Anthropology. We were also able to host a special Honors Night at the Museum in February at which we provided exhibit and special behind-the-scenes collections tours to over 160 NIU students enrolled in the Honors Program. In May, we held our annual Destress Fest at the museum and collaborated with seven partners to help students relieve stress before finals. This year’s activities included yoga, massages, Legos, bead crafts, coloring, breathing exercises, outdoor activities and huskies to play with. The members also experienced networking and career development opportunities through our “Pros at the Pick” events. These events featured Q&A style discussions with a diverse array of museum professionals from institutions across the country. This academic year we Skyped with the director of collections management at the

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jun Francisco; the reference librarian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Vincent Slate; and the museum registrar at the Comanche National Museum, Heather Coffman. We were also fortunate to have Director Matthew Toland and Assistant Director Sarah Connors from the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies in Mount Carroll, Illinois visit us at the Pick to talk about the conservation side of museum work. From these events, students gained wonderful insights into planning our careers as future museum professionals. The members of the Student Advocacy Board are proud of their accomplishments this year in engaging the campus community. We look forward to the future and promoting the Pick Museum as a wonderful resource here at NIU.

Art and Archaeology Graduate Colloquium Alex Barker, president elect of the American Association of Anthropology, director of the Museum of Art and Archaeology and affiliated faculty in the Department of Anthropology at University of Missouri, visited NIU to speak about decipherments of Mississippian iconography and a pilot project between the Museum of Art and Archaeology and the Capitoline Museum in Rome, Italy. His first presentation, “Iconography and Social Boundaries in Mississippian Art” explored the iconography of engraved shell objects and their links to Mississippian centers from Texas to the Carolinas, and from Florida to Wisconsin, during the late prehistoric period. Alex Barker also discussed new Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) technology being utilized in the museum to learn about manufacturing techniques and stylistic detail of these shell objects.

In his second presentation, “Opening University Museums to Unstudied Antiquities: A Pilot Project from Downtown Rome,” Alex Barker discussed a collaborative project with the Capitoline Museum in Rome to bring in and study ancient antiquities recovered from downtown Rome in the 19th and 20th centuries but were never previously studied. He also shared some of the preliminary findings of analysis on the ceramics’ stamps and markings using X- ray fluorescence spectrometry and neutron activation through the MU Research reactor, to determine where the material was produced and isolate production processes.

2016 Annual Report


ENHANCING student and faculty scholarship


Laura Heideman

Assistant Professor of Sociology and the Center for NGO Leadership and Development How long have you been at NIU and what classes do you teach?

How has your relationship with the museum enhanced your courses?

I joined NIU in 2013 and teach classes such as Global Social Problems, Peace and Social Justice, Globalization and International NGOs, and Social Movements.

The Pick Anthropology Museum has given my students a space to explore course topics outside of the classroom. Laura and Jennifer have done a wonderful job finding ways to work with my students and connect museum exhibits to class topics.

What inspired you to begin working with the Pick Museum? In spring 2014, I was teaching Global Social Problems for the first time. My colleague, Mark Schuller, had an exhibit in the Pick about social problems in Haiti after the earthquake. Working with the Anthropology Museum staff, I designed a project where students toured the exhibit, chose one of the social problems highlighted in the exhibit, researched that problem and wrote a paper to tie what they had seen in the exhibit to concepts we were learning in class. In what kinds of ways have you utilized the museum’s resources? The first class project with the Anthropology Museum was such a hit with students that I am constantly looking for ways to incorporate the museum into my other classes. In spring 2016, Laura McDowell Hopper hosted my “NGOs in the News” class in the museum to talk with them about the challenges and rewards of community participation in museum development. We were covering diversity in NGOs and the challenges of cross-cultural work, and Laura’s experiences co curating the Hmong textiles exhibit with community members gave the class a great example of how an organization can facilitate a community project.

What do your students say about their visits to the museum? The visit to the Haiti exhibit was a huge hit with my students. At the end of the semester, I asked the students to write about the most memorable part of the class. “Definitely our segment on Haiti. Visiting the museum and choosing social problems to focus on in Haiti was a very rewarding experience.” “Actually seeing what the housing and tools and toys looked like.” “The museum visit was most memorable because I actually got the opportunity to see how people in Haiti actually lived.” “The most memorable thing about the class is going to the Anthropology Museum and learning about Haiti, and then writing the paper out.”

2016 Annual Report


PRESERVING collections for increased accessibility

Rehousing the Collection:

IMLS Grant Project Update In 2014, the museum received a $150,000 federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to begin a collections rehousing project. The purpose of this grant project is to ensure the preservation of more than 3,200 objects in our cultural collections, increase accessibility for faculty and students, and provide valuable handson learning experiences to students interested in working in museums. During phase one of the rehousing project, eight students worked a total of 1,672 hours to temporarily move 3,262 objects out of the museum’s collections storage space to the museum’s exhibit space to make room for new compact storage. In the summer of 2015, students continued to work with the curator to move approximately 200 oversized objects to new home locations in collections storage. While the museum’s collection was stored in the exhibit space, Bradford Systems installed new compact shelving in collections storage to improve the safety and security of the Museum’s cultural collections and allow for increased accessibility. In fall 2015, Laura wrote and designed labels for a living exhibit called, Collections Rehousing Project. These labels hang in a section of the exhibit space adjacent to the object storage cabinets and explain mount making so visitors can ask questions while students work. This transparency about museum work has engaged visitors. Exhibit labels describe the grant project, how it empowers the museum to achieve best practices, trains and employs students, and ultimately preserves the collection. Student workers are also there working and often talk with visitors about what they are doing, the materials they are using and how it impacts the museum and university. The dedication of the newly renamed James B. and Rosalyn L. Pick Museum of Anthropology occurred during the grant project, and hundreds of university

administrators, alumni and donors visited the museum as a result. James Pick and Rosalyn Laudati were especially delighted to see this first-hand evidence of how their donation could empower the museum to receive the IMLS grant, achieve best practices in stewardship and train the next generation of museum professionals in the process. In February 2016, student workers were hired and the Field Museum’s Chief Conservator Ruth Norton, who conducted a conservation assessment for the museum in 2009, taught a mount-making workshop for all of our student workers. For the spring semester 2016, nine student workers cumulatively worked 83 hours per week for a total of 1,100 hours in the semester and completed 285 mounts for collection objects. Due to the generous endowment of James Pick and Rosalyn Laudati, funds were available for to hire Felicia Herzog, a graduate of NIU’s Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies and recent M.A. in Art History, as the Project Collections Manager to facilitate not only the training and supervision of students, but ensure the accurate and up-to-date management of collections records in the museum’s collections database. As part of phase four, Laura and Felicia conducted three workshops on basic collections management, object preservation and collections moves with several volunteer-run historical societies and museums in DeKalb County. Looking to the future of the Rehousing Collection Project, phase four work will culminate in several short videos that can both generate awareness of the museum and its collection, as well as be used as instructional mount-making and collections management training. Student mount making will continue through October 2017. A new programming series called “Visit the Vault” will follow, which offers the public a chance to see the Pick Museum’s improved storage facility. The Pick Museum is proud to uphold the highest museum standards and teach NIU students about professional collections stewardship for years to come.

Thank You to Our Students Sarah Fitzpatrick Steve Jankiewicz Karissa Kessen Sarah Beth Kiliman Jeremy Lobbezoo Shanay Murdock Kylie Robey

Nine students + 1,100 hours of work =

285 mounts!

Michelle Stewart Markie Striegel Keith Ulrich Rachelle Wilson-Loring

2016 Annual Report


COLLECTING objects and stories

The 50th Anniversary Collections Catalogue In celebration of our renaming, the 50th Anniversary Collections Catalogue was created to provide a glimpse of some of the museum’s most treasured objects and showcase the museum’s expertly curated collection strengths of Southeast Asia, Native North America, Oceania, Latin America and Africa. This catalogue reveals the invaluable contributions staff, faculty and donors have made to the museum as it strives to exemplify best practices in collections stewardship and become the center for cultural engagement at Northern Illinois University. The 50th Anniversary

Collections Catalogue celebrates the museum’s future by recognizing the James B. Pick, Ph.D. and Rosalyn M. Laudati Ph.D Endowment as a spark igniting change and empowering the museum to fulfill its vision of improved collections storage and a stronger permanent collection built through planned acquisitions and enhanced exhibits. The Pick Museum of Anthropology was recognized by the Illinois Association of Museums with the 2016 Award of Excellence for the printed material “The 50th Anniversary Collections Catalogue.” Stop by the museum to pick up your copy of the catalog today!

New Acquisitions Developing strong acquisitions takes considerable time, research and outreach. During “Storytelling” exhibit research trips to St. Paul, Minnesota, home to one of the largest Hmong populations in the United States, Laura developed a relationship with Hmong American sisters Sy Vang Lo and Khang Vang Yang who work as textile artists and merchants in one of the city’s Hmong markets. Laura purchased two story cloths from the sisters. These are especially strong acquisitions because they are accompanied by over 80 photographs of the sister’s lives from the 1960s to the present, as well as three hours of oral history interviews detailing their experiences during the Secret War and as refugees coming to the United States. This textile tells the story of Hmong migration over time. The timeline begins at the top with Hmong in China, then follows their migration to the mountains of Laos, Northern Vietnam and Thailand in the 1800s. Next, the story cloth depicts the Secret War, the name for Hmong involvement with the CIA during the Vietnam War, followed by Hmong migration to refugee camps in Thailand and ending with airplanes that took Hmong people to resettlement countries like the United States. The embroidery on this story cloth was completed by Khang in Ban Vinai Refugee Camp in Thailand in the late 1970s, and the border was added in St. Paul in 2013 when Khang retired from sewing. Khang is shown here holding the migration story cloth she made.

The Pick Museum’s collection also received several remarkable new acquisitions to the collection this year. Notably, our museum received a collection of over 40 objects from Indonesia. The collection is the gift of Susan and Paul Fuller who purchased the items while living in and visiting Indonesia. Batiks, ikats, puppets, baskets and household items like hair combs help the museum build a stronger Southeast Asian collection. The collection continues to be a dynamic teaching space, with classes utilizing the collection for creative object-based learning that offers students an opportunity to engage with material culture. Our IMLS grant has helped build rèsumès for interns who are learning mount making and preservation skills that will help them because successful museum professionals. The museum’s collection grows in strength, quality and care each year, and has become a treasured campus resource.

2016 Annual Report


INSPIRING a new generation

From the Museum’s Graduate Assistant 2016 Illinois Association of Museums Graduate Student of the Year

Steve Jankiewicz

My involvement with the Pick Museum this past school year has been without a doubt one of my most rewarding graduate school experiences at Northern Illinois University. Prior to working at the Pick Museum, my knowledge concerning traditional museum work was rather limited. I was very familiar with archaeological collections but lacked exposure to ethnographic objects. Despite this inexperience, the staff at the Pick Museum immediately welcomed me into their family and fostered an environment that gave me the tools and resources I needed to learn and succeed.

While working as the graduate assistant for the Pick Museum, I was involved with a range of activities including exhibit deinstallation and installation, object preparation, docent scheduling and management, transcribing interviews, public and student tours, storage mount design and construction, and installation of compact storage units. These dynamic experiences clearly demonstrate how impactful the Pick Museum is for students and why university museums are so vital for the next generation of museum professionals. They provide a place for students, sometimes who have never even set foot into a museum, to learn basic skills without the intimidation often produced within larger institutions. I am grateful for all the opportunities I was given at the Pick Museum and hope future students have the same avenues to explore. I am saddened by having to leave such a great team of people behind, but eager to begin a new journey.

ADVOCATING for social justice The Pick Museum of Anthropology was awarded two grants from the Dunham Foundation and Henry Luce Foundation to document the life stories of recently resettled refugees in northern Illinois. Led by the museum’s Research Assistant, Rachel Drochter, the museum will train and work with three ambitious NIU students as they venture out this summer to neighboring towns to meet and talk with refugees from Burma. The Pick Museum has partnered with NIU’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies and Center for Burma Studies. Currently, the humanitarian crisis of global refugee displacement is at an all-time high. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are 60 million forcibly displaced people living in the world today, with over 140,000 living in refugee camps along the Burma-Thai border. One of the largest groups living in border refugee camps are the Karen people, a minority group from Burma who have been in an intermittent state of armed conflict with the dominant majority since the emergence of the Union of Burma in 1947. Beginning in 2006, thousands of Karen families began leaving refugee camps to resettle in the United States, a considerable number of whom have settled here in northern Illinois.

Refugees and representatives from local refugee support organizations will discuss the challenges of resettlement, from finding housing and employment, to taking English classes, and navigating the education and health care system. Not only will this project provide unique field work and research opportunities for budding historians and anthropologists, it will also allow the museum to build relationships with local community members, collaborate with other campus cultural centers and give a voice to an increasingly misunderstood community. 2016 Annual Report



Museum use

by NIU students has increased

34% since 2012.

Faculty requests

for class tours, student scavenger hunts and object-based presentations have increased more than


The museum supervises


graduate and undergraduate students.


of the exhibitions over the

past three years were co curated by

NIU faculty.

In fall 2015, NIU began a Program Prioritization process to assess all academic programs and administrative units for the degree to which they reflect the institutional mission and strategic goals. This process has been implemented at many universities across the country to enhance effectiveness and increase enrollment. The Pick Museum of Anthropology participated as an administrative unit, independently of the Anthropology Department, an academic unit. All campus museums and collections similarly participated as administrative units. The director collected benchmark data from comparable institutions and compiled museum data from the past three years to prepare a 2,500 word document. Following a standard Program Prioritization template and using the requisite software, this narrative argued that the museum is a vital academic resource for both the university and the community. Highlighting the museum’s success in fundraising, growing an important permanent collection, curating award-winning exhibitions and training new museum professionals, the Program Prioritization narrative captured our small but mighty institution and its capacity for high achievement. A Task Force was charged with reviewing all 236 administrative programs and placing each one into five categories: candidate for enhanced resources, continue with no change, continue but reduce resources, requires transformation or candidate for phase-out. The Administrative Task Force Executive Summary concluded that “Although NIU has some inefficiencies and areas that can be improved, the task force repeatedly saw evidence of devoted, exemplary, hard-working individuals and well-intentioned programs. It is clear that NIU has a tradition of doing more with less.” Regarding the Pick Museum, the task force determined that “the program has done an excellent job increasing engagement of students, faculty and the community with their collection and has become a source of pride for the university. In spite of limited university funding and staffing support, the program has been tremendously successful at obtaining federal grants and endowed gifts. This program should be encouraged to continue to do so.” A category of Continue with No Change was recommended, similar to all other campus museums and collections.

Visitation by Type 2015-16


INCOME TOTAL College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Contributions/Donations



Endowment $36,567 Annual Campaign $4,255 Grants $39,750 Henry Luce Foundation $20,000 Dunham Fund $19,750


EXPENSES Administrative


Office supplies, memberships, conference travel

Collections $8,921 IMLS grant project $5,088 Exhibitions $4,150

Pick Museum dedication exhibit,

Storytelling: Hmong American Voices

Personnel $144,320

2.5 Full-time staff, 1 Graduate Assistant,

5 part-time student workers $165,931

Grants Received in FY 2016 The Henry Luce Foundation awarded $20,000 in support of exhibition research for The Karen Refugee Project. The Dunham Fund awarded $19,750 in support of exhibition programming in Aurora for The Karen Refugee Project.

2016 Fiscal Year Expenses $165,931 2016 Annual Report


James B. and Rosalyn L. Pick Museum of Anthropology Northern Illinois University Cole Hall DeKalb, IL 60115 815-753-2520

Hours of Operation: Tuesday - Thursday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Friday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday