Ethnology Database

Ethnology is the study of human cultures and societies, both in their own terms and comparatively across space and time. The scope of the ethnology collection is global in nature, concentrating on indigenous cultures from around the world, with an emphasis on indigenous cultures of the western hemisphere and a specific focus on contemporary native cultures of North America. The objects in the ethnology collection were made predominately in the 20th and 21st centuries, and the ethnology collection is divided into seven sub-collections: Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, Oceana, North America, and South America. Examples of ethnographic objects include: beaded moccasins from the Cheyenne-Arapho of Oklahoma, a wooden headdress from the Bamabara people of Mali, Africa, snow goggles from the Inuit of Alaska, a huipil (or woman’s shirt) from the Maya of Guatemala, a snakeskin drum from the Asmat people of Indonesia, a painted pottery vessel from the Shipibo of Peru, and woven rugs from the Navajo of New Mexico. Please take a look through our database to discover some interesting and exciting objects in the collection.

For more information regarding the collection, please contact the Curator Daniel Swan, PhD. Permission to reproduce or publish items in the museum collections in print, film, or other media must be requested in advance, and granted in writing through an “Image Request” form and a “Request for Permission to Publish” form. Associated fees must be paid before photographs will be sent. With inquiries or requests for permission to use collection photos, please contact the collection manager, Christina Naruszewicz.