Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology

Current Exhibitions

Remarkable Lives Post with Large Bird Eye on Cover

Remarkable Lives: The Intertwined Worlds of Birds and Humans

Bird songs and behaviors have resonated with peoples of every time and place. Their natural beauty inspire great art, dance, ritual and fashion on every continent. Local photographers capture these living dinosaurs still among us and a robotic recreation of the late Jurassic Archaeopteryx gives new meaning to the phrase early bird.



Additionally, the exhibition reveals both the damage to global ecosystems and the consequences for birds worldwide. The innovations of citizen science, agricultural flyways and backyard habitats mitigate these influences and create lush, fun, mini ecosystems that really support local and regional bird life. Visitors will consider the impact humans are having on the lives of birds, and how the metaphor of the proverbial canary in the coal mine is playing out on the world stage.

The museum is delighted to be partnering with the Altacal Audubon Society and Snow Goose Festival. In its 20th year, the Snow Goose Festival strives to increase public awareness and conservation of wildlife and habitats of the Northern Sacramento Valley.

The museum will add an extra open day on Sunday, January 27th from 11-3 to accommodate the Snow Goose Festival, which runs January 23-27. Birds and Birders, alike, flock to Chico, which is ideally situated near the Pacific Flyway, a major migratory hub for many bird species during the winter.

Bird Mask

Photo Gallery - Remarkable Lives

Explore the sights the Remarkable Lives exhibit.


Altar States - Spirit Worlds and Transformational Experiences

The Works of Peter Treagan

Public Reception March 6th from 4:30-6pm
Open March 7 - May 17, 2019

Poster - Altar States: Spirit Worlds and Transformational Experiences; The Works of Peter Treagan

Transformational Festivals have emerged across the globe in part as a response to the unprecedented societal and ecological challenges facing the planet. Altar States offers a glimpse into artist Peter Treagan’s ethnographic field research at Transformational Festivals in North, Central, and South America. The artwork on display served as the basis for a Master’s Degree Project at CSU, Chico in Social Science.

Peter Treagan’s interactive tech art immerses you into alternative worldviews and paradigms present in this global movement. By dimming the lights and wearing 3-D glasses – visitors become participants in a transformational visionary art experience – where they gain access to once hidden imagery revealed only through UV black lights. The artwork confronts the liminal spaces where consciousness can shift from one plane to another and seeks to make visible the individual and collective transformational experiences achieved through ritual, ceremony and prophetic experiences present at transformation festivals.

Peter’s research takes him across the Americas, meeting up with festival organizers and attendees in search of a global ecological philosophy to guide and shape the dialog for positive change. Come discover the inner landscapes and otherworldly vistas curated and created by Peter Treagan in Altar States.