MOA Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Throughout 2013 the Museum of Anthropology will celebrate 50 years of serving Wake Forest University and the greater community with a retrospective exhibition and several special

MOA Founder Dr. E. Pendleton Banks


In 1963, Dr. E. Pendleton Banks, chair of what was then the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University, founded the Museum of Man to broaden learning opportunities for anthropology students.  The Museum was first housed in the basement of Tribble Hall, a newly-opened academic building.  In 1975, the Museum opened in Reynolda Village with an increased focus on educating the general public in addition to the Wake Forest community.  To accomplish that goal, the museum staff introduced education programs meeting the needs of local school systems.  These programs have been an enormous success, serving more than 320,000 students to date.  Many patrons first introduced to the Museum though school fieldtrips now bring their own children to visit the exhibits.

In 1987, the Museum completed the move to its current location on the Wake Forest campus and opened as the Museum of Anthropology (MOA).  Relying primarily on donations from collectors, organizations, and Wake Forest faculty, students, and alumni, the Museum expanded its collections to include ritual and everyday objects that span the globe and the centuries.  The collections currently include more than 29,000 archaeological and ethnographic artifacts.

A student-curated retrospective exhibit of the Museum’s history, Celebrating 50 Years of the Museum of Anthropology, will be on display January 15 through October 26, 2013.  Wake Forest student interns, junior Demone Jackson and senior Kathryn Rohlwing, worked under the direction of Registrar and Collections Manager Kyle Bryner to develop the exhibit.  The pair conducted research in the Museum’s institutional archives, selected and scanned numerous photographs, decided which objects to feature, composed the exhibit text, and created the layout.  The exhibit will focus on a timeline featuring historical photographs from the archives and artifacts from around the world illustrating the Museum’s 50-year history.

In the spring, the Museum will host MOA Turns 50! A Birthday Party and Family Day on Saturday, March 23, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m..  This exciting event will feature birthday cake, Chinese dance performances, and crafts activities from cultures around the world as the Museum celebrates its birthday.  The MOA staff invites the community to campus to enjoy a free afternoon of educational fun for all ages.  The Museum will also host a Golden Anniversary Gala in the fall.

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