Illinois State University has a rich history of using objects as a dynamic hands-on approach to teaching. For example, as early as 1862, plant and animal specimens were used in classrooms to encourage students to explore the natural world around them. By the late 1980s ISU’s University Museums contained more than 30,000 objects of all kinds, natural and artifacts.
The Ethnology Collection of the University Museums, which contained everyday objects from various countries and cultures, provided the opportunity for students to acquire an even broader view of the world around them. Students, along with the general public, visited the University Museums to be enlightened, educated, and entertained by this vast array of objects. After the University Museums closed in 1991, ISU's Department of Sociology and Anthropology retained some of this collection and continues to use it today as a valuable hands-on educational resource.
This online Ethnology Teaching Collection offers images and information of interesting objects, collected from all over the world, that were once part of the ISU University Museums’ collection. This growing online digital collection is offered for research, teaching, and life-long learning.