Current Exhibition

Into the Blue: Maritime Navigation and the Archaeology of Shipwrecks

The underwater world of shipwreck archaeology dives into nautical secrets of the Frolic, a ship which sank off the Coast of Mendocino during the Goldrush in 1850. Come explore the history of maritime navigation in the museum's upcoming full scale exhibition, Into the Blue: Maritime Navigation and the Archaeology of Shipwrecks.  The exhibit will feature authentic artifacts recovered from the Frolic on loan from the Mendocino County Museum.   Artifacts from Bob Benner's world-class collection of historical navigation instruments will also be on display.  These include an astrolabe, a Polynesian navigation chart, a ship's chronometer and a sextant.  Seafaring explorers of all ages will enjoy this dynamic and interactive exhibit.  

The exhibition will be open to the public December 10-20, 2013 & January 7 - July 24, 2014

Click here to read about our new exhibit in the Chico Enterprise-Record.

Upcoming Events

Night at the Museum: Navigation and Shipwrecks - Pirates Welcome!

Friday May 2nd 6-9 pm at the museum.                                                           

Click here for details!

Summer Camp 2014 - The Fun Begins!  Registration starts April 1, 2014. 

Camp will be June 30th through July 24th, Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.

Click here for the full schedule.

World Explorations - Sami Shamanism in Eclipse

image of reindeer

Sunday April 6th from 4-5 pm at the Chico Women's Club 592 E. Thrid St. in Chico

Free and Open to the Public

The indigenous Sami people of Arctic Europe have lived as hunters, trappers, gatherers and reindeer herders for at least 5,000 years.  Central to this culture has been the Sami’s animistic religious perspective, guided by noaide  - Sami shamans.  These religious figures kept themselves and their clan members in balance with the natural world and worlds unseen.  During the 19th and 20th centuries the Sami endured religious persecution and loss of traditional land rights – driving their culture and shamanistic practices out of sight.  Learn how these traditions are emerging from the shadow of the past in the 21st century from anthropologist Jay Fuller. 

A Special Edition of AnthroForum - Thursday April 17th 4-5 pm in Performing Art Center (PAC) Room 134

image of dava sobel

High Stakes and High Seas: 
The Race to Invent the World’s First Chronometer

Dava Sobel, Celebrity Science writer and author, comes to CSU Chico to recount the story of the how the Harrison’s Ship Chronometer was invented and its impact on world history.  Her award-winning book Longitude was at the top of the bestseller charts for most of the year and still captures reader’s imaginations who are curious about the Age of Sail. This is a story of intrigue, chicanery, and nerdy science worthy of an episode of Sherlock Holmes. The Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology, the Departments of Anthropology and History will co-host a special edition of the campus AnthroForum on Thursday, April 17, 2014 dedicated to the invention of the Harrison’s chronometer in 1762. 

This event is free and open to the public.

Doors Open 3:40 pm.  We anticipate this to be popular! 

A Pledged Bequest

California State University, Chico has received a testamentary bequest from emeritus faculty member Dr. Valene L. Smith to benefit the University’s Anthropology program and its Museum of Anthropology.


Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology

Museum Hours

Tuesday–Saturday 11-3

Monday-Thursday 11-3

Closed between exhibitions.  See exhibition schedule for specific dates.

Note: The Museum of Anthropology is completely wheelchair accessible.

Our Location

The museum is located in the Meriam Library complex, next to the Janet Turner Museum


Museum of Anthropology
CSU, Chico 95929-0400

Contact Us
Phone: 530-898-5397

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