About the Longyear Museum of Anthropology The museum aims to be a resource for global art and culture on behalf of students, the public, other institutions, and indigenous communities.
The mission of the Longyear Museum of Anthropology is to educate Colgate University students and the public about the rich artistic and cultural heritage of indigenous peoples of the past; to show that indigenous peoples exist today and continue to produce culturally significant and beautiful objects; and to showcase the work of contemporary artists who explore historical or contemporary issues of social significance in their work. A particular objective is to preserve and exhibit the prehistoric, traditional and contemporary art and artifacts of the local Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and other Northeast Indian peoples who are Colgate University's nearest indigenous neighbors.
The Anthropology Museum at Colgate began in the early 1950s as a teaching collection. In 1957, John Longyear, an archaeologist and anthropology professor, purchased a few cases to display fossil casts and local archaeological specimens. Under Professor Longyear’s direction, a small gallery was constructed on the second floor of Alumni Hall in 1965. The museum was named in honor of Professor Longyear upon his retirement in 1978. Gary Urton assumed responsibility as Curator, and oversaw the remodel of the museum in 1985. Carol Ann Lorenz served as Interim Curator in 1978-88, while Professor Urton became Curator of Collections. He relinquished this role to Jordan Kerber in 2001. In 2003, Professor Lorenz acquired the title Curator of Ethnographic and Contemporary Collections, while Professor Kerber retained responsibility for the museum's archaeological collections. Professor Lorenz assumed the role of Senior Curator in 2005, and held that position until the end of 2014. Professor Kerber remains the Curator of Archaeological Collections. The Longyear Museum of Anthropology remains a small but vibrant art space in the heart of an academic building.
The collections of the Longyear Museum of Anthropology are an important resource for exhibitions and teaching, and for research by students and faculty. Acquisitions of local archaeological materials began in the early 1950s. The founder of the museum, John Longyear, diversified and grew the collections to include archaeological and ethnographic art and artifacts from elsewhere in North America, Pre-Columbian Middle and South America, Africa, Oceania, and Asia. In recent decades, Carol Ann Lorenz actively acquired thousands of important African, Pre-Columbian, Native American, and Oceanic art objects, as well as contemporary artworks.
The Longyear Museum's exhibition program draws extensively from its own collections. It aims to demonstrate the rich artistic heritage of indigenous peoples past and present; show that indigenous peoples exist today and continue to produce objects of beauty; and showcase contemporary art produced within non-European cultures.