The Anthropology Department houses a large collection of archaeological and ethnographic materials from all over the world.  

Opportunities for Students 

The collections offer students the opportunity to work on all aspects of collections management—researching objects, cataloging, preparing condition reports, conservation, and storage. With our temperature and humidity controlled storage facilities, students have to chance to practice environmental monitoring and pest control.  


The Anthropology Department houses archaeological, ethnographic, and biological collections from around Wisconsin and the world. Materials are used for teaching and enriching the student experience.

Archaeological Collections

Our archaeological collections include materials from Lawrence-directed excavations throughout northeast Wisconsin, with particularly rich collections from Door County and from the historic Grignon house and trading post in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. 

We also maintain a large teaching collection with material from across North America, including outstanding type collections of Southeastern and Southwestern ceramics and of North American projectile points. Our teaching collections include material from Teotihuacan (Mexico) and Harappa (Pakistan).

Ethnographic Collections

Our ethnographic collections include numerous objects of daily life, including clothing, from Wisconsin native communities and from the people of Melanesia. We house a large collection of ceremonial and decorative objects from the Seipik River region of New Guinea, and a smaller collection of similar materials from East Africa. 

Our teaching collection includes materials from across the world as well as reproductions of Upper Paleolithic and Native American artworks and tools.

Biological Collections

Our biological collections include a large collection of fossil human, primate, and modern human casts. These are primarily used for teaching.

We also have a large teaching and research collection of human skeletal remains. In addition to these, we house a research skeletal collection of mammals from northeast Wisconsin.