Half a million years of human history, at your fingertips.
The Logan Museum houses over 350,000 archaeological and ethnographic objects from 123 countries. These collections derive from more than 480 cultural groups spanning half a million years of human history. The museum’s goal is to make this material accessible online, but this goal will take several years to accomplish. Collections will continue to be launched as additional objects are digitized and prepared for online publication.
Information on the objects represented in these digital collections derives from catalog records, which in some cases may be incomplete or inaccurate. Please contact the curator for access to the collections or to comment about record content. Information about rights and reproductions is available online.
Digitization of the Logan Museum’s collections has been made possible by grants from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Freeman Foundation.
The Logan Museum Digital Collection is one of many collections that are part of the Beloit College Digital Collections. Use the Advanced Search option to explore across the Beloit College Digital Collections or to search for specific information within the Logan Museum Digital Collection. Use the links below to browse Logan Museum Featured Collections.
The distinctive art, tools, clothing, and religious objects of the Ainu people of northern Japan have been avidly collected for decades.
One especially active collector was Frederick Starr (1858-1933), the University of Chicago’s first anthropologist. Starr developed a large exhibition of Ainu material and recruited a “life group” of nine Ainu people for the 1904 World’s Fair, the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. Starr conducted fieldwork among the Ainu in Hokkaido in 1904 and 1910 and acquired Ainu material from other sources as well.
In 1960, the Logan Museum acquired 68 of Starr’s Ainu objects including textiles, adornment, and household and religious items. The Logan Museum and the Brooklyn Museum are the only institutions that house objects from Starr’s Ainu work; notes and photo documentation also exist at the University of Chicago and the University of Oregon.
The Heath Collection, acquired in 1955, forms the museum’s largest and most significant Native American ethnographic collection.
An amateur anthropologist and avid collector and dealer of Native American objects, Heath recorded detailed information on the former owners and provenance of items in the collection, lending a level of significance that many other early Native American collections lack. Albert Green Heath was born in 1888 in Chicago. He traveled extensively throughout North America, buying, trading, and selling Native American objects. Heath was interested in preserving his collection for entertainment and educational purposes.
When he died in 1953, his cousin Helen Friedmann, Beloit class of 1918, pushed for the collection to go to Beloit College. In 1955, despite interest from other museums, the family sold 2,635 objects to the Logan Museum of Anthropology for $9,000. In order to recoup the acquisition expense, the Logan Museum sold “duplicate” items, giving museums first priority. The sale was later opened to private collectors and the public.
Of the full collection of 2,635 objects, 1,699 were sold and 936 became part of the Logan Museum’s permanent collection.
Dr. Harley Harris Bartlett (1886-1960) was a professor of botany at the University of Michigan and director of the university’s botanical gardens. During his botanical research trips to Asia, he assembled diverse collections of ethnographic material. His sister, Hazel Bartlett, donated over 300 ethnographic objects from Indonesia, Taiwan, and the Philippines to the Logan Museum in 1961.
Significant material includes textiles, carved figures, and manuscripts from the Batak people of northern Sumatra (84 objects), a variety of objects from the Moro, Igorot, Ilonggot, Mangyan, and Ifugao people of the Philippines (127 objects), and artifacts made by the Paiwan, Atayal, and Yami indigenous people of Taiwan (25 objects).
Beloit College’s 1925-1930 Logan-Saharan Expeditions in North Africa were directed by the Logan Museum’s assistant curator Alonzo W. Pond`18.
Pond led surveys and excavations of dozens of prehistoric sites, particularly “escargotieres” (snail shell middens) of the Capsian culture. While archaeological excavations occupied most of the fieldwork, Pond also collected ethnographic objects from Tuareg and other Berber people in Algeria.
The Tuareg collection is the largest and most significant segment of the museum’s African ethnographic collections.
The Frances Bristol Collection is an important scholarly and cultural resource that documents over four decades of craft production, ethnic and linguistic identity, cultural tourism, economic development, and community change and continuity in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Bristol, an advocational ethnologist, made trips to Mexico and Guatemala between 1952 and 1995. Decades of research, travel, and first-hand observation resulted in a collection of over 500 objects, primarily textiles, and an associated archive of over 30 notebooks and over 8,000 slides and photographs.
The collection was donated to the Logan Museum of Anthropology between 2006 and 2014.