Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Coordinates: 37°52′11″N 122°15′18.47″W / 37.86972°N 122.2551306°W / 37.86972; -122.2551306 The Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology (formerly the Lowie Museum of Anthropology) is an anthropology museum located in Berkeley, California. Founded in 1901 under the patronage of Phoebe Apperson Hearst, the original goal of the museum was to support systematic collecting efforts by archaeologists and ethnologists in order to support a department of Anthropology at the University of California. The Museum was originally located in San Francisco from 1903 (open to the public as of 1911) until 1931, when it moved to the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. On the Berkeley campus, the Museum was located in the former Civil Engineering Building until 1959, when it was moved to the newly built Kroeber Hall.

Today the Museum functions as a research unit of the University of California and defines its mission as:

  • “To collect, preserve, research, and interpret the global record of material culture, so as to promote the understanding of the history and diversity of human cultures.”[1]

Many of the most notable names in American anthropology have been associated with the Museum. These include the Museum’s first director Frederic Ward Putnam, the anthropologists Alfred Kroeber, Robert Lowie, and William Bascom, and archaeologists Max Uhle and George Reisner. It was also the final residence of Ishi, who lived there from 1911 until his death in 1916.


The Museum houses an estimated 3.8 million objects plus extensive documentation that includes fieldnotes, photographs, and sound and film recordings.

Major collections include:

  • Approximately 9,000 California Indian baskets, representing almost every tribe in California and all of the region's basketry techniques. The collection is housed in the Museum’s basket and textile study center and is accessible to tribal scholars and community members.
  • A broad collection of approximately 20,000 ancient Egyptian artifacts, with a special emphasis on predynastic Egypt. The core of this collection comes from excavations carried out by George Reisner between 1899 and 1905.
  • Approximately 16,000 African artifacts collected under anthropologist William Bascom and his students, and from the excavations of archaeologist J. Desmond Clark.
  • An important collection of Oceanic objects, including collections from the Trobriand Islands made by Bronislaw Malinowski in the early 1900s and archaeological collections from excavations in Fiji and New Caledonia undertaken by E.W. Gifford in the 1940s and 1950s.

Programs and activities[edit]

In addition to supporting scholarly research and publication, the museum mounts exhibitions in a gallery located on the UC Berkeley campus, sponsors public educational programs, and works with Native American communities on issues related to cultural property and repatriation.

The Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.


  1. ^ Mission Statement of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology,

External links[edit]