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Anthropology museum helps people appreciate other cultures

September 18th, 2009 Posted in Arts and Life

By Kara Kawakami

LOGAN — Utah State University Museum of Anthropology offers visitors and residents of Cache County new insights on cultures, peoples, and civilizations.

A broad definition of anthropology is “the study of humans through all time,” said Mary Kay Gaydos Gabriel, museum curator. “Our intent is to provide programming that is of interest to children and adults in order to provide them with opportunities to learn about all cultures,” Gabriel said.

Saturdays at the Museum are specifically designed for Cache County residents on topics that are both current and historical. These events are held almost every Saturday except for holidays. Each Saturday has a different theme with activities for children and adults. There are lectures for adults, and games and activities for children, Gabriel said.

It is important to make connections through cultures, opening doors of understanding in our current world which is overrun with hyped-up media coverage and one-sided perspectives. Understanding others is the key to an open and inclusive future society, Gabriel said.

“For me the museum makes it a lot more broad, opens people’s eyes to different cultures and beliefs, to something new,” said Monica Nybo, a USU senior in anthropology and museum studies

Things are changing at the Museum of Anthropology. Recently, a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services was obtained that provides the museum with funding that will allow continuation of the Saturdays at the Museum program for two additional years, and provides the means to improve the programming with visiting scholars, subject matter experts, and additional marketing, said Gabriel.

New exhibits are also being added. There is an exhibit on textiles from Pakistan, Egypt, Samoa, and Peru that is being constructed, Nybo said.

The museum is located on USU’s campus in Logan, on the second floor of the south turret in the historic Old Main building, room 252. The museum is a resource for the students and community of Cache County at large. All event programming, educational outreach, marketing, volunteer student docent tours, exhibit design, research, and collections accessioning are performed by students, Gabriel said. The museum is a lab for learning how to run and work in a museum.

The museum is a non-profit organization and is funded through donations and grants. A great way for students to help the museum raise funds is by shopping on Amazon.com through a link on the museum web page: http://www.usu.edu/anthro/museum/. It provides the museum with 6-8 percent of the money a customer spends, Gabriel said. “It is a fabulous way to give to the museum.”

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