CSU, Chico News

Museum of Anthropology Named in Honor of Professor Emerita Valene L. Smith

Date: 11-19-2009

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico’s long-standing Museum of Anthropology has a new name that honors the contributions of Valene L. Smith, CSU, Chico anthropology professor emerita.

The California State University Board of Trustees officially changed the name of the museum to the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology at its regular meeting today, Nov. 18, in Long Beach.

Smith taught in CSU, Chico’s Department of Anthropology from 1967 to 1998. She is a pioneer in the field of anthropology and cultural tourism, serving as a six-time United States delegate to the International Geographical Union Tourism Commission and as a founding member and chair of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism and the International Commission of Anthropological and Ethnographic Sciences.

Smith has been an active supporter of the museum since its inception. She recently made a testamentary commitment to the Museum of Anthropology totaling more than $3.3 million, bringing her overall past and future financial contributions to the museum to more than $4.6 million.

A long-time Chico resident, Smith has been involved in campus and community organizations for many years. She was founding president of the Chico Museum Association and a founding member of the Enloe Hospital Foundation. She currently sits on the University Foundation Board of Governors.

Grand opening of the museum for 2010 will be held Thursday, Jan. 28, at 4 p.m. Presenting the new name of the museum and honoring Valene Smith’s contributions spanning many years will be highlights of the event.

The museum’s next exhibition will take as its topic the people of the Arctic. The title of the exhibit is “Living on Top of the World: Arctic Adaptation, Survival and Stewardship.” Through the exhibit, the museum will acknowledge the pioneering nature of Professor Smith’s work in Alaska and the field of cultural tourism.

The museum’s location is in the Meriam Library complex, next to the Turner Museum, across from the main entrance of the library itself.

The museum will be open for visitors briefly Tuesday through Friday, Dec. 15-18, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and then re-open to the public Tuesdays–Saturdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. beginning Jan 12, 2010 through May 28, 2010.

The Museum of Anthropology was established in 1970 at CSU, Chico to support the Department of Anthropology’s unique and innovative museum studies training program. The museum’s mission is to promote respect and appreciation for human cultural diversity through a variety of interdisciplinary approaches. Along with its involvement in the department’s curriculum, the museum supports community education programs and an elementary school summer camp and school tours program serving more than 3,000 students.