Welcome to the James B. and Rosalyn L. Pick Museum of Anthropology

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Rachel Rudolph, Anthony Tumpag and Richard Cooler

If you are interested in researching artifacts of the Anthropology Museum collection, please contact the director Jennifer Kirker Priest at jkirker@niu.edu.

To learn more about the Museum and its history, watch this video from the Anniversary exhibition.


The Anthropology Museum at Northern Illinois University was founded in 1964 and is operated as part of the Department of Anthropology. The museum houses over 20,000 objects comprised mostly of ethnographic material with some archaeological material. 

The museum specializes in cultures of Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and the Southwest and Plains Native Americans.  In addition, the museum holds smaller collections from Africa, modern Greece, Mesoamerica, and South America.  The museum is particularly proud of the Native American basket collection, featuring over 200 specimens, as well as the Indonesian textile collection, which contains over 600 pieces.  In addition, the museum also houses about 100 different Indonesian shadow puppets, a fine collection of Thai khon masks, and important collections of Hmong and Karen artifacts.  The museum has a growing collection of modern Mesoamerican artifacts reflecting the cultural and artistic changes taking place in modern Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.

After 50 years, the museum is proud to announce a name change in honor of NIU alumnus James Pick and his wife Rosalyn Laudati who have established an endowment for the museum.  This generous gift is already transforming the museum into the cultural heart of the communiversity, providing  dynamic opportunities for people of all ages to marvel at the world’s cultural diversity, revel in the history of human innovation, and become more active citizens in our global community. 

Mission Statement

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

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


COLLECTIONS STEWARDSHIP: 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. 

EDUCATION: 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. Please see this video about the Museum Studies Program.

COMMUNITY: The Anthropology Museum 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.

2012 -2013 Annual Report