Ethnology Collections

Lea McChesney
(505) 277-1936

Research Divisions
Ethnological Research


The Ethnology Collection at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology originated through systematic anthropological research, collecting, and exhibitions. In combination with accompanying documentary and photographic records in the museum’s Photo Archive, the Ethnology Collection provides a tangible base for the study of the symbolic, technological and aesthetic aspects of human culture.

While the Ethnology Collection has served as a source for scholarly research and education at the university for many years, it now shares its resources with the newly developed Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies. In conjunction with community partnerships and collaborative projects the Ethnology Collection provides a valuable cultural resource for the maintenance and revitalization of traditional material culture.

For information on the Ethnology Collections at the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology please contact:

Lea McChesney, Ph.D.
Maxwell Museum of Anthropology
MSC01 1050
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

There are 35,000 objects in the Ethnology Collection representing the indigenous peoples and diverse cultures of the Americas with an emphasis on the US Southwest, Central and South America, as well as smaller collections from the Artic, Oceania, Southeast Asia and Africa. Some of the highlights of the collection include: the collection of historic Southwest pottery from the Rio Grande and Western Pueblos; a fine collection of textiles from the Southwest including a comprehensive collection of Navajo textiles dating from the early 19th century to the late 20th century; and a significant collection of baskets from the Southwest, California, and Latin America as well as from the Pacific Northwest.

Specialized collections include the Lois Law collection of Native American works of art on paper, worldwide jewelry and musical instruments, as well as contemporary New Mexican Santos (devotional art from Northern New Mexico.) Systematic collecting in partnerships with traditional artists continually augments the collection.

Most significantly, the recently established Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies represents a new and vital vehicle for community partnerships involving ethnological research and teaching.