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Yes and no. IU is establishing a new Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology but it is being created out of a marriage between the rich collections of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology and the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.
We are in only the initial stages of planning for the project and do not have a design yet. The museum will continue to be housed in the building at 416 N. Indiana Avenue in Bloomington, but the building will be substantially renovated. Some aspects of the renovation include:
- converting two dated and now inefficient separate spaces into one with extensive replacement and modernization of mechanical and other infrastructure. For example, new HVAC systems, electrical upgrades, and other such improvements will make our facility better for visitors, students, researchers, and employees.
- increasing the visibility of, and access to, collections through innovative exhibits and extensive use of technology, including 3-D digital scanning and exhibition tools developed at IU
- providing improved spaces for research, teaching, and public education programs based on the collections
The renovation will be funded through an $11 million capital appropriation made to IU in the last state budget and other state funds. We are extremely grateful to the Legislature and Gov. Eric Holcomb for their support of this project vital to the state's history. The university is also in the process of raising additional funds from philanthropic sources.
The planning process is currently underway. The building at 416 N. Indiana is scheduled to close in late May 2020. The goal is to complete the renovation by Fall of 2021.
The spirit, collections, and activities of the Mathers, including cultural exhibitions, will live on as featured aspects in the new museum. We look forward to expanding on the museum’s education programs and exceptional outreach activities and developing loan and exhibit exchange programs with important museums elsewhere in the country and world.
One key focus of the new museum will be pre-contact Native American people of the American Midwest and beyond, including the unique collection of artifacts cared for by the Glenn Black Laboratory of Archaeology for many years. With input from tribal partners, the new museum will promote engagement with the Mississippian community of Angel Mounds near Evansville, Ind. In addition, the new museum will highlight the Glenn Black Lab’s many other collections.
The museum will be directed by Ed Herrmann who has extensive experience researching archaeological stratigraphy and chronologies, stone tools, and Native American mound construction methods. One of IU’s own, Ed holds MA and PhD degrees from Indiana University and has experience in Africa, Germany, Wyoming, Montana, Ohio, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Indiana, and beyond. The new museum also will benefit from dedicated and creative professional faculty and staff who average more than 20 years of experience per person in areas such as museum administration, outreach and education, curation, exhibit planning and design, material culture analysis, and anthropological research.
Indiana University scholars and representatives of over a dozen Native American nations are moving forward with a plan to repatriate human remains unearthed at Angel Mounds State Historic Site near Evansville from the 1930s through 1950s, in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.