Mission and Scope

The UW-Madison Anthropology Collection (UWAC) is a non-profit educational and research tool of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The mission of the UW-Madison Anthropology Collection is to:

• provide a platform to better understand humans, societies, and non-human primates in all their variation and similarity through time and across the world, and
• undertake efforts to reveal, preserve, and develop a greater understanding of, and appreciation for, the complex but organized diversity that has shaped the human condition past and present.

This includes, but is not limited to: biological, cultural, and archaeological education, research, analysis, and outreach.
The contents of the UWAC reflect the interests of the Department of Anthropology faculty and may include objects and archives (both paper and electronic) to achieve its mission. It develops research, pedagogy and outreach that illustrates, interprets and explains humanity, both temporally and spatially.
In response to the lack of a designated State of Wisconsin Natural History Museum, the UWAC also serves as a regional repository (encompassing southwestern and southcentral Wisconsin) to preserve Wisconsin’s precontact past.

Due to limitations in expansion space, international laws concerning the import and export of anthropological and biological specimens, as well as the wide breadth (and changes over time) of research interests of the Department faculty, incoming collections are thoroughly vetted and assessed prior to acceptance and must meet the current collection priorities and needs.

Collection Resources

Policies and Guidelines

The UWAC has established policies and guidelines in place governing the acceptance, management, and deaccession of the collections in our care.

UWAC Resources

The UWAC is listed in the UW-Madison campus’ Research Core Directory, including identification of currently available resources and services.

A History of the Collection

The UWAC has actively supported research and education for almost 100 years, perhaps even longer. Learn more about the long and deep history and its contribution to the anthropological discipline.