The IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is now set to open in October 2023. It will contain over five million artifacts in five exhibits, ranging from collections of jewelry and textiles from around the world to underwater archaeology.
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Combining collections from the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology and the now-closed Mathers Museum of World Cultures, the IUMAA will be located at 416 N. Indiana Ave.
The museum’s flagship exhibit will be an in-depth look at the Angel Mounds site in southern Indiana from approximately 1250 C.E., which will feature a virtual reality experience, transporting visitors into what life at Angel Mounds would have looked like.
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IUMAA plans to host classes with physical workshops and open up as many artifacts as it can to the public. The museum has converted many office and storage rooms into audience spaces and an auditorium focused on education, interaction and engagement, Judith Kirk, assistant director of the museum said.
The lower floor will feature large racks of artifacts in storage that are being cataloged in the museum’s archaeology lab, IU graduate and former member of IUMAA’s student advisory council, Karrigan Perkins said. Showcasing student and staff research will be a crucial part of the museum experience.
“Many people don’t realize the extent that IU takes part in archaeological research,” Perkins said. “I think the museum will be interesting to students because of its large involvement with IU and IU research.”
There will also be glass cases throughout the museum that highlight specific themes and topics from IU classes, Sarah Hatcher, interim director of the museum, said. For example, one case will contain instruments from the silk road, and another will contain woven objects and tools to make said objects, Hatcher said.
The museum will have two exhibits featuring the stories of how the museum acquired its artifacts and how it studies them, Hatcher said. The museum will host programs for students of all ages, as well as events for the Bloomington community.
“Museums aren’t just about things, they're about the people that made and used them, and they're about the people who have come to interact with them,” Hatcher said.