World Explorations Give a Gift Masks in the park

Dreaming of a Museum Job?
Here's How.

Graduate student Heather Martin has completed part of her Master's Thesis - an online collections database featuring the North American basketry at the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology. Click on the image below to browse the collection.

North American basketry


Museum Exhibitions and Events

Winter Holiday Hours

The museum will be closed December 21- January 8th. 

Imprisoned at Home

black and white photo of Tule Lake Incarceration Camp

New Exhibit Documents the Tule Lake Incarceration Camp of WWII

The Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology is proud to announce the grand opening of its latest exhibition: Imprisoned at Home.  An opening reception on Tuesday, January 30 at 4:30-6:00.

Opening with a powerful panel of anti-Japanese propaganda posters, this powerful exhibition seeks to immerse visitors into the Incarceration Camps of WWII.  Students in the museum studies program erected a replica Barracks of the Tule Lake facility that housed  people of Japanese ancestry during the war. A few short weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 120,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly taken from their homes to “War Relocation Centers” around the nation.

Visitors can follow the journeys of several local individuals and their families who were kept behind bars at the Tule Lake facility. On display are artifacts of daily life in the camp, such as personal censored letters, hand painted playing cards, carved wooden toys, and newspapers- all made by incarcerees in an effort to normalize their very disrupted lives.

The exhibition also gives voice to lingering questions that continue to have meaning in our democracy:  Who is a citizen? When can one dissent? Are human rights universal? What can we learn from history?

A documentary about local resident Jim Tanimoto, who is 94 years old now, is featured. He tells his story now, so a younger generation of Americans might continue to protect their rights.

Click here for directions to the museum.

Grow With Us!

Photo of Valene, President Gayle Hutchinson, Dean Eddie Vela, Director Georgia Fox, Curator Adrienne Scott, and students at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the museum expansion

If you haven't already heard the good news, the museum has expanded - thanks to a generous gift from Dr. Valene Smith.  The additional gallery space became available when The Turner Print Museum moved to the new HFA Building on campus. The expansion allows the museum to have 3 annual exhibits per year and provide museum studies students with more hands-on learning opportunities.

Join our museum family and help us continue to bring unique and engaging programming to the North State. 

Click here to learn about all the great things happening at the museum in our Summer 2017 Museum Newsletter.

Explore the Museum's Collection Online

Graduate student Bella Quijano has completed part of her Master's Thesis - an online exhibition featuring 3D images of the museum's collection of hats from around the world!  Click on the poster image below to see the museum's first ever online exhibit, Hats, Caps and Headdresses: Headpieces from around the World

Image of a hat from Borneo and the title of the online exhibit, Hats, Caps and Headdresses: Headpieces from Aroudn the World.

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.


Museum News

Click here to view our Fall 2016 Newsletter.

Click here to view our Summer 2016 Museum Newsletter.

Click here to view our Fall 2015 Museum Newsletter.

Click here to view our Spring 2015 Museum Newsletter.

Click here to view our Fall 2014 Museum Newsletter.

Click here to view our Spring 2014 Museum Newsletter.

Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology

Museum Hours

September 6-December 20, 2017


11 a.m.–3 p.m.

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, across from the main library entrance.

See our Google Map Link to the Museum


Museum of Anthropology
CSU, Chico 95929-0400

Contact Us
Phone: 530-898-5397

click to view our facebook page