Our collections database includes information about the objects in our collections, including their identification, place of collection and cultural attribution. Information from the database is available in two ways:
- Browse archaeology and ethnology records on your own using the online version of the catalog database.
- Obtain a downloaded copy of the records in a printable format by sumbmitting a printout request form.
More information about specific collections may be available in various documents and publications. Our Guide to Collections Records outlines the resources available.
Access to the collection is provided by appointment only:
UPDATE: ASIAN CERAMICS CLOSED TO RESEARCHERS: Our collection of Asian ceramics is closed to researchers pending re-housing and stabilization due to earthquake damage. For further information, please contact Dave Rosenthal or Felicia Pickering in collections management.
Location and hours:
- Collections are stored at the Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland. Appointments are available Tuesday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, excluding federal holidays. Directions
Repatriation-related visits should be scheduled directly with the Repatriation Office by calling (202) 633-1899.
Sampling and casting must be proposed well in advance and approved by the Department's Sampling Committee.
Related Collections Nearby in Suitland, MD
- The Museum Support Center also houses the Department of Anthropology's National Anthropological Archives (NAA) and Human Studies Film Archives. Please contact the NAA staff to make a separate appointment.
- The collections of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) are housed at the Cultural Resources Center, located next door to the Museum Support Center. Please contact NMAI staff directly for an appointment. You can also search a representative sample of NMAI's object and historic photo collections on the NMAI Collections Search web page.
Fellowships for research are available from the Smithsonian Institution's Office of Fellowships to support predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows, minority interns, visiting scholars and others. Native American researchers should note the Native American Awards Program, particularly the Native American Community Scholar Awards, and the National Museum of Natural History American Indian Program.
Staff of the Smithsonian Institution, as a matter of legal and ethical policy, do not authenticate or perform appraisals of any artifacts for the public. You may wish to contact the Appraisers Association of America to find a professional appraiser. The Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute has an excellent website with more information and resources relating to appraisals. The National Museum of the American Indian also has helpful appraisal resources (pdf) on their website.
Anthropology staff may be able to provide some assistance with basic identification of anthropological artifacts, and may also provide resources for further research. The Anthropology Public Information office coordinates this service. You may send photographs of your artifacts, but please do not send the artifacts themselves to the museum. If your object is archaeological (i.e., prehistoric or excavated), you may want to contact the state archaeologist of the state where it was found.
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