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Anthropology is the study of human cultural diversity, archaeology, language, and human biology and evolution. The collections at the IMNH are focused on Idaho, but span the globe in their importance. Studies ranging from the ecology of people in Ice Age Idaho to modern bead-working traditions emphasize the diverse research and educational opportunities for anthropological studies at the IMNH.

Please feel free to contact us for further information, or to make an appointment to access the collections:


Dr. Charles “Andy” Speer

Research Curator, Division Head Anthropology

Office: Graveley Hall Room 162

(208) 282-4906


Amber Tews, MS

Anthropology Collections Manager

(208) 282-2451


These collections contain both historic and prehistoric objects including lithic materials (stone flakes and tools), animal bone, soil samples, pottery, basketry, seeds and plants, and other specimen lots from excavated site contexts. These collections include a number of large private donations to the Museum and excavations conducted as part of the Museum research program, including the famous Wasden site.

All requests for access to these collections for research and education is made through the Research Curator and the Collections Manager, the policy for access and use can be found at the link below. The Museum also serves as the Eastern adjunct to the Archaeological Survey of Idaho as the Earl H. Swanson Archaeological Repository (ESAR).


The majority of ethnographic collection was donated by private individuals who lived in the Pocatello area around the turn-of-the-century. The ethnographic collections focus on the Native American cultures of the Great Basin and Plateau areas of North America, and are particularly strong in Shoshonean materials (including an excellent basketry collection and extensive photographic archives). Various categories of material culture are represented including household equipment, travel/transportation gear, clothing, and personal adornment. Other regions represented in the collections include the Subarctic, the Arctic, the Great Plains, the American Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, the New Hebrides Islands, the South Pacific, Zululand, and Southeast Asia; as well as the nations of Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, Suriname, New Caledonia, Fiji, and Poland.

Most of the ethnographic materials have not been studied in detail, and we welcome proposals to conduct original research on any aspect of the Ethnographic Collections