What is the Pick Museum of Anthropology?


Zulfiqar Ahmed

The NIU Pick Museum of Anthropology is located in Cole Hall (Zulfiqar Ahmed | Northern Star)

The NIU Pick Museum of Anthropology has been a staple on the University’s campus for years. It was founded in 1964, is located in Cole Hall and is part of the department of anthropology. 

According to Enjoy Illinois, the museum houses over 20,000 objects composed of ethnographic and archeological material. The museum is also home to collections from Africa, Greece, South America and could grow even larger for more artifacts from around the globe. The museum also has an impressive Native American basket collection as well as an Indonesian textile collection. 

The museum is a teaching museum, providing an environment for students, faculty and visitors to visit and learn about historical artifacts from different cultures in history. Students and faculty are able to conduct research, co-curate exhibitions and enhance the learning experience by enriching the curriculum with object based learning. 

“I have yet to visit the museum, but I’ve heard nice things about it,” said Eric Moore, a sophomore time arts major. “I’ve seen pictures online and the exhibits look interesting, so I’ll be visiting the museum sometime this semester.”

“Swept Under the Rug”

The museum received the 2020 Award of Superior Achievement from the Illinois Association of Museums for the exhibit “Swept Under the Rug.” This exhibit shed light on the widespread impact of sexual violence. 

The museum was divided into three installments, one centered around clothing that is representative of outfits that survivors were wearing when they were assaulted, another embodying the memories of non-consensual contact through mannequins and the third sharing the experiences of young survivors. 

The exhibit was curated by staff members at Safe Passage, which is an agency whose mission is to prevent and reduce domestic violence. 

“Through Every Fiber”

The exhibit titled “Through Every Fiber” is scheduled to be on display until May 14. This exhibit showcases nine textile making processes from communities around the world. The exhibit is curated with students in the museum studies certificate program and museum interns. 

Some of the textures include pounded bark cloth from Tonga, rugs by Navajo weavers, sequined banners from Haiti and more. Each cultural section provides information about the processes and technologies that produce these products within the different cultural practices. 

The exhibit also highlights textile makers who are addressing social, economic and environmental issues in their work. 

According to the museum website, the curators are working on revising the upcoming exhibition schedule and updates can be found on the site or through subscription based email updates. The current hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.