Museum of Anthropology and the Quad: Columbia, MO- MU Campus

I thought it might be fun to do some travel blogging about the daytrips we’ll be taking this year and I’ll start with a more thorough review of the museum K and I visited Monday.

The Museum of Anthropology is a small, pocket museum on the University of Missouri Columbia campus. It is full of interesting artifacts and replicas from around the world, all displayed with brochures and signage detailing the items.

There is not much parking available on the street near the museum so we opted to park in a parking garage located about 4 blocks away. It was a pay garage but only cost $1.00 for two hours (we could have paid for the entire day for only $2.25). It was a nice day and there were several fun shops along the way for us to explore so we didn’t mind the walk at all. Once on campus the museums were all clearly marked and we found the Anthropology building with no trouble at all.

Once inside we signed the guest book and started exploring. There was a special exhibit of shoes from six continents which my shoe-loving daughter found very intriguing.

The display included a section about the foot binding culture in China which was just heartbreaking. K had not been aware of this horrific tradition and was utterly mortified.

K put her hand next to the shoes to show how unbelievably small they were.

From the shoes we moved on to the section which showed the tools used by anthropologists to study other cultures. The wall which was covered in notes and specimen bags was especially interesting.

Next up were tools from various cultures. It is interesting to me to see how similar we all are in terms of meeting our daily needs.

Hand sculptures were included in some of the displays to demonstrate how the tools were used.

The bead work, jewelry and basket weaving on display was beautiful! We spent a great deal of time studying the intricate work.

There was a large display of Kachina’s. These figures were the physical representation of the spiritual realm used by many Native American tribes. They were believed to bring good fortune. I thought they were really cool but K just thought they were creepy. 😉

My absolute favorite piece from the day was this small bead on top of a fishing spear. All of the beautiful pieces we’d seen that day were explained as ceremonial, spiritual or a way to display prominence and importance. This piece, however, seemed to be there simply for the sake of artistic embellishment. This gave me a great sense of connection to the person who carved and carried this- someone who wanted something not only functional but also beautiful to carry with him in his daily tasks.

We thoroughly enjoyed this tiny little museum, which took about an hour to fully explore. I left marveling at all of the reminders that these stories from the past are more than stories- they are the lives of ordinary people, very much like myself in both their needs and their desires.

We popped into the little gift shop but didn’t purchase anything. There were plenty of tempting items- all fair trade items from around the world! There was fair trade jewelry, chocolate, coffee and more. If we’d thought to bring money with us for a souvenir I’d have definitely purchased something and may pop in next time we’re in the vicinity.

The museum exits onto the quad of MU campus and it was such a nice day that we explored a bit before heading back to the car.

Columns on the quad

K with the statue of Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence

K on a bench next to Thomas Jefferson's original tombstone, moved from Monticello

K resting on one of the columns

All in all this was a great day! We really enjoyed our visit to campus and this little gem of a museum.

The Museum of Anthropology is located at 100 Swallow Hall in the quad of  the MU campus. It is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Admission is free but donations are accepted.




3 responses to “Museum of Anthropology and the Quad: Columbia, MO- MU Campus

      • The only way I’ve been able to let go of my weight affecting my mood was to literally throw away my scale. It’s too powerful when I allow it to be (and I’m recovered from eating disorder issues). Everything I do now focuses on health and if I never lose another pound I am really okay with that. I just want to feel good, have energy and be healthy for as long as I can. 🙂

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