The Maxwell Museum was founded in 1932 as the Museum of
Anthropology of the University of New Mexico, becoming the first public
museum in Albuquerque. In 1972 it was renamed the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology
in honor of philanthropists Dorothy and Gilbert Maxwell, whose donation
of funds made possible a major expansion of the museum that same year.
In 1973 the Maxwell Museum was awarded its first accreditation from the
American Association of Museums and was re-accredited in 1985, 1997 and 2007.
With its associated research institutes the Office of Contract
Archaeology, the Alfonso Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies, and the
Maxwell Center for Anthropological Research the museum represents
a comprehensive center for cultural studies and public education.
The mission of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology is to
increase knowledge and understanding of the human cultural experience
across space and time. The museum serves this mission by collecting, maintaining,
researching, and interpreting anthropological materials. The mission statement
is based on recognition that material objects, as manifestations of the
practical and symbolic lives of human groups, represent a tangible and
irreplaceable source of information for the study of human behavior. The
museum supports and complements the University's functions of education
and research, and, in addition, provides educational opportunities to
the public outside of the University community.