As early as 1885 the University of Missouri began accepting gifts of ethnographic materials. In 1902 these materials were organized into the Museum of Ethnology, under the auspices of the Department of Sociology. From 1932 to 1938 the holdings were known as the Anthropology Collection; the name Museum of Anthropology was formally adopted in 1939.
The Museum of Anthropology is the only anthropology museum in the state of Missouri and one of a few in the Midwest. The Museum's archaeological collection, the largest holding of prehistoric Missouri artifacts in the world, includes millions of items dating from 9,000 B.C. to modern times. The Museum curates thousands of ethnographic objects from many cultures around the world, as well as a sizable collection of historic Euroamerican materials and the extensive Grayson Archery Collection. Additionally, the Museum holds the Fay Library of anthropological books and periodicals and archival materials relating to various collections.
Since its founding in 1939, the Museum of Anthropology has served the research and teaching needs of the University of Missouri, provided exhibitions and programs for the general public, and served as an archaeological curation facility for the state of Missouri.
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