Marjorie Barrick Museum

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Marjorie Barrick Museum
Marjorie Barrick Museum is located in Nevada
Marjorie Barrick Museum
Location in Nevada
Established 1967
Location 4505 Maryland Parkway
UNLV campus, Paradise, Las Vegas NV USA
Coordinates 36°06′28″N 115°08′15″W / 36.107696°N 115.137393°W / 36.107696; -115.137393
Type anthropology
Director Aurore Giguet

The Marjorie Barrick Museum (MBM; formerly known as the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Natural History) is a museum located on the main campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), established in 1967.[1] The museum was originally instituted as a natural history museum with a focus on the natural history and environment of Nevada and the broader Southwestern United States.[2] The Marjorie Barrick Museum (the Barrick), is a well-known venue for engaging exhibitions and events. In December 2011, the Barrick joined the UNLV College of Fine Arts and became the anchor of the Galleries at UNLV. The six galleries and one museum that make up the Galleries are each entities in their own right linked through a common administration.


The founding of a natural history museum at the university—then an institution only a decade old, known as Nevada Southern University[3]—began with a collection of specimens from the Desert Research Institute (DRI), the Nevada System of Higher Education's graduate research institute. In September 1967, the DRI opened a small museum facility in premises across from the university's grounds, as part of an expansion of DRI's activities into southern Nevada. The museum was created under the direction of archaeologist Richard H. Brooks, assistant research professor at the university and a researcher (later director) of the DRI-affiliated Nevada Archaeological Survey. Its exhibits consisted of DRI's local collection of living desert animal specimens and Native American artifacts.[4]

In 1969 the university took over the management of the museum from DRI.[5] Brooks remained as director of the university-affiliated museum, and during his tenure the museum's funding was established and further permanent exhibits acquired.[6] The most significant acquisition occurred in 1979, when a private collection of pre-Columbian art was donated by a former UNLV alumna, Mannetta Braunstein, and her husband Michael. These pieces would form the basis of a broadening collection of Mesoamerican and Aridoamerican cultural artifacts, acquired through other donations and further additions from the Braunsteins' purchases in Latin American markets.[7]

In the late 1970s the museum began the process of relocating to premises situated on the UNLV campus, to occupy a building that had contained the university's original gymnasium. Renovations to accommodate the museum were completed in 1981. Further alterations and expansions to the building were subsequently undertaken, and a research laboratory wing was added in 1994.[5]

Beginning in 1979 the museum's anthropological collections were greatly expanded, with the subsequent additions of donated collections of ethnographic and archaeological artifacts representing Native American and pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures.[8]

Brooks left the position in 1981.[6] His successor as museum director was ornithologist and former UNLV president (1973–78) Donald Baepler, who was returning to the university campus after a three-year term as chancellor of the Nevada university system.[9] Baepler was instrumental in establishing UNLV's Harry Reid Environmental Research Center, and the museum was reorganised to became one of the center's operating divisions. Baepler retired as museum director in 2004, retained a title as emeritus executive director of the museum.[10]

In 1989 the museum was renamed in honor of Marjorie Barrick, a longstanding benefactor of the university.[11] In 1980 Barrick, a former showgirl and prominent philanthropist married to a Las Vegas real estate developer, had gifted UNLV with an endowment of some $1.2million from her late husband's estate, to fund an ongoing series of public lectures at the university. Speakers at the Barrick Lecture Series have included international figures and heads of state, such as Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Mikhail Gorbachev and F. W. de Klerk.[12]

In 2012, the Barrick closed its doors to begin renovation on the museum and to undergo a change of hands with departments. The Marjorie Barrick is no longer affiliated with the Harry Reid Center and is now a part of the College of Fine Arts on campus of UNLV. The exhibition hall went through a drastic renovation in how the museum flows from showcase to showcase. The Marjorie Barrick Museum has teamed up with the LVAM: Las Vegas Art Museum and the collection from the LVAM is now being showcased at the Barrick.

Anthropological collections and exhibitions[edit]

The cultural exhibits cover over two thousand years of Native American and earlier cultures,[13] including the Mesoamerica period.[14]


  • Marjorie Barrick Museum Auditorium[15]
  • Marjorie Barrick Museum Exhibition Hall


  1. ^ AASLH (2002, p.506); Danilov (2005, p.205)
  2. ^ Taylor (2008)
  3. ^ The university was officially founded in 1957 as the Southern Division of the University of Nevada. The university's name was formally changed to UNLV in 1969.
  4. ^ Mikkelsen (2001); Slaughter (2007, p.2)
  5. ^ a b Mikkelsen (2001)
  6. ^ a b Slaughter (2007, p.2)
  7. ^ UNLV Foundation (n.d.)
  8. ^ "Cultural Collections". Collections. Marjorie Barrick Museum. n.d. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  9. ^ Moehring (2007, p.92); Mower & Wills (2008)
  10. ^ Mower & Wills (2008)
  11. ^ Moehring (2007, p.89); Mower (2007)
  12. ^ Danilov (2005, p.205); Moehring (2007, pp.99,129); Mower (2007)
  13. ^ "Exhibitions". Marjorie Barrick Museum. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  14. ^ "Marjorie Barrick Museum Of Natural History". Nevada Commission on Tourism. 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  15. ^ "Delicate Questions". The Rebel Yell. 2009-03-19. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 


AASLH [American Association for State and Local History] (2002). Directory of Historical Organizations in the United States and Canada. American Association for State and Local History book series (15th ed.). Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. ISBN 0-7591-0002-0. ISSN 1045-456X. OCLC 48910178. 
Bryan-Wilson, Julia (2003). "Building a marker of nuclear warning". In Robert S. Nelson and Margaret Olin (eds.). Monuments and Memory, Made and Unmade. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. pp. 183–204. ISBN 0-226-57157-2. OCLC 0226571572. 
Coots, Stephanie (20 September 2004). "A major treasure at UNLV: MBM" (ONLINE EDITION). The Rebel Yell (Las Vegas: Confederated Students of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas). OCLC 41870048. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
Danilov, Victor J. (2005). Women and Museums: A Comprehensive Guide. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. ISBN 978-0-7591-0854-7. OCLC 57613505. 
Mikkelsen, Ginger (7 July 2001). "Barrick Museum combines arts with sciences" (ONLINE EDITION). View News - Northwest (Las Vegas, NV: View Neighborhood Newspapers). Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
Moehring, Eugene P. (2007). The University of Nevada, Las Vegas: A History. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press. ISBN 978-0-87417-709-1. OCLC 81150304. 
Mower, Lawrence (1 May 2007). "Marjorie Barrick dies at age 89". Las Vegas Review-Journal (Las Vegas, NV: Stephens Media). ISSN 1097-1645. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
Mower, Lawrence; Annette Wills (28 May 2008). "Educator Donald Baepler dies". Las Vegas Review-Journal (Las Vegas, NV: Stephens Media). ISSN 1097-1645. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
Slaughter, Suzan (Summer 2007). "Nevada Archaeological Association Lifetime Achievement Award 2007" (PDF ONLINE FACSIMILE). In-Situ: Newsletter of the Nevada Archaeological Association (Las Vegas: Nevada Archaeological Association) 11 (2): pp. 2–4. OCLC 70247649. 
Taylor, F. Andrew (29 April 2008). "National Museum Month: A date with discovery" (ONLINE EDITION). View News - Southeast (Las Vegas, NV: View Neighborhood Newspapers). Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
UNLV Foundation (n.d.). "Donors Put UNLV on the Map for Pre-Columbian Art Studies". Alumni: Case studies. University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 

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