Archaeological Collecting at the Museum of Northern Arizona: Then and Now

Author(s): Elaine Hughes

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "To Curate or Not to Curate: Surprises, Remorse, and Archaeological Grey Area" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) is a private institution, yet 89% of its archaeological holdings are from federal, tribal, and state lands. The story of how MNA acquired these collections is rooted in its founding in 1928 by a group of local citizens under the leadership of Dr. Harold S. and Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton. The idea for the museum grew out of Dr. Colton’s correspondence with an amateur archaeologist and custodian of Wupatki National Monument. They both felt that cultural and natural science resources from Arizona should be preserved in Arizona rather than in large Eastern museums. Dr. Colton encouraged local collectors to donate their prehistoric collections to MNA for greater accessibility to the public, while he continued a systematic archaeological survey begun in 1916 to document sites in northern Arizona. There have been many changes since these early days with the passage of laws that affirm federal ownership and tribal claims to archaeological resources from their lands. In line with this, MNA has developed and will discuss its current policy and protocol for accepting archaeological materials from private entities as well as partnerships with local tribes for re-homing artifacts.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Collecting at the Museum of Northern Arizona: Then and Now. Elaine Hughes. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452182)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25154