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Our Mission
History
Staff
Newsroom
Newsletter
FAQs

Our Mission

The Museum of Peoples and Cultures exists to serve the academic mission of BYU and care for the anthropological, archaeological, and ethnographic collections in the custody of the University.

The Museum of Peoples and Cultures is BYU’s Teaching Museum, inspiring students to life-long learning and service and mentoring them in collections-focused activities that reinforce BYU ideals of education as spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, and character building. These activities concurrently serve the scholarly community, the LDS community, and/or the general public and aspire to the highest standards of stewardship and public trust.

The Museum supports this mission by:

  • Collecting, preserving, and caring for material objects that document the diversity of human experiences and reflect the multi-faceted fabric of the world’s cultures past and present
  • Providing a professional learning environment for BYU students through a broad range of instruction in both formal and informal settings; through programs that enable student participation; and through example and role-modeling
  • Facilitating teaching and research on peoples and cultures by BYU faculty, staff, students, and by members of the scholarly community in peer institutions
  • Creating new knowledge through scholarly research including field activities, research, and exhibitions
  • Educating museum visitors about peoples and cultures as appropriate to the Museum’s holdings and collecting scope

Brief History of Museums at BYU

Lewis Building
Lewis Building

Museum efforts at Brigham Young Academy began as early as 1879, when James E. Talmage was appointed curator of the Brigham Young Academy Museum. We know from his notes that the museum collected natural history, geological, and archaeological objects. By the 1930s, BYU’s museum collections were located in Room D of the Education Building (now the Provo City Library). Over time, the original museum collections were split up. The University now has four museums - the Paleontology Museum, the Museum of Art, the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, and the Museum of Peoples and Cultures (MPC). The MPC is Brigham Young University’s archaeological and anthropological museum.

Brief History of the Museum of Peoples and Cultures

Brigham Young Academy
Brigham Young Academy

BYU’s archaeology department was established in 1946. In part, the formation of the department and the subsequent field work necessitated the opening of a separate archaeology museum. In those early years, the archaeology museum was located in the lower floor of the Eyring Science Center. In 1961 it was moved to the bottom floor of the Maeser Building, and in 1981 it moved to Allen Hall and was given its current name.
Previous even to Allen Hall, the roots of today’s collections were stored and displayed in the Lewis Building on Provo Center Street (no longer standing), the Academy Building on University Avenue (now the Provo City Library), and the Maeser Builing on “campus hill.”

Maeser Building
Maeser Building

The museum has continued to grow and improve over the years. Recent awards include a State Certificate Award for Excellence in All Areas of Museum Operations as well as the 2011 Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. Since 2000, the MPC has received over $250,000 in Federal and State grants for various research projects. In the same time period, $1.5 million in object and cash donations have significantly increased the quality of the collections.
All exhibits at the MPC are designed and installed by students in BYU’s museum certificate program. Public programs, like our popular date nights and FHEs, are also planned by student employees and volunteers.

Allen Hall Building History

Allen Hall
Allen Hall

Allen Hall was built in the late 1930s as a men’s dormitory. During World War II it became women’s housing. In the 1960s the building was adapted for use as a Language Training Mission (a pre-cursor to the MTC). This varied history is evident in the structure of the building. The galleries are located in what used to be the common and dining rooms when the building was student housing. The classroom was the kitchen, and the majority of offices were dorm rooms. The museum occupied the building since 1981 until it moved in 2015 to our current location on Canyon Road.

Paul Stavast

Museum Director
(801) 422-0018
paul_stavast@byu.edu
KaraHeadshot.jpg

Kara Cottle

Curator of Education
(801) 422-0022
mpc_programs@byu.edu
Richard Talbot

Richard Talbot

Director of the Office of Public Archaeology
(801) 422-7778
richard_talbot@byu.edu

Scott Ure

Scott Ure

Research Archaeologist, OPA
(801) 422-0742
scott_ure@byu.edu

Newsroom

Artifact forgery detection article in BYU News

BYU News's article that discusses spotting the difference between real and forgery artifacts, featuring BYU student Chloe Burkey.

Read more

Covid- Prevention

Piecing Together Paquime

The museum recently opened its exhibition on Paquime culture, specifically featuring the extensive pottery collection from Casas Grandes.

Read More

newsroom 3

Nauvoo Calls for BYU Archaeologists

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints asked BYU Archaeologists to excavate to home of Edward Hunter, a prominent historical figure of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Read More

Selections from the Collection: Polynesia

Passports to Polynesia Welcomes Dozens of Presenters

The MPC hosted dozens of presenters representing the island nations of Polynesia in an interactive experience titled "Passports to Polynesia".
Read more about the experience in this article from the Daily Universe.

Read More

The Museum of Peoples and Cultures recently made the Daily Herald's Ultimate Winter Bucket List. To read more about the museum and see the rest of the list, click here.

Newsletter

Every month the Museum sends out an electronic newsletter highlighting upcoming events, programs, and other exciting news. To be added onto our email list and receive our monthly emails, please submit your email below.

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IS THE MUSEUM OPEN ON SATURDAYS?

No, we are only open during the week. Our hours during the school year are:
Monday - Friday : 9am - 5pm
Tuesday : 9am - 7pm
Closed Saturday and Sunday

Our Summer hours are:
Monday - Friday : 9am - 5pm
Closed Saturday and Sunday

HOW MUCH DO TOURS COST?

It depends on the tour and the group size. Here is our pricing list:

Gallery Tours:
Our gallery tours introduce visitors to one or both of the current exhibitions.

Group Size Price (per group)
1-12 visitors $5.00
13-24 visitors $10.00
25-50 visitors $15.00

Activity Tours:
Our activity tours begin in the gallery then transition to a hands-on activity in the classroom. Activities are designed for children and youth, but adults enjoy them, too!

Group Size Price (per group)
1-12 visitors $10.00
13+ visitors $20.00


Please schedule a tour with the education office prior to paying.
MPC Education Office:
(801) 422-0022
mpc_programs@byu.edu

For more information on tours, click here.

HOW DO I SCHEDULE A TOUR?

To schedule a tour or request further information, please contact the MPC Education Office at (801) 422-0022 or mpc_programs@byu.edu.

DOES THE MUSEUM DO ACTIVITIES FOR YOUTH GROUPS?

Yes. If you would like to bring a youth group to the museum, we are open till 7pm on Tuesdays during the school year. If you are interested in doing a gallery tour or an activity tour, please contact the MPC Education Office at (801) 422-0022 or mpc_programs@byu.edu to schedule a tour.

HOW DO I GET TICKETS FOR A DATE NIGHT?

Tickets are posted for sale online two weeks prior to the event.

HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT UPCOMING EVENTS?

Please visit the Programs and Events section of our web page. All programs and events will be listed with information as the dates are solidified.

HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR MORNINGS AT THE MUSEUM?

Please visit the Programs and Events section of our web page. There will be a link available to our sign up for the morning you are interested in attending.

I HAVE AN ARTIFACT I WOULD LIKE TO DONATE TO THE MUSEUM. HOW CAN I DONATE IT?

To donate objects and artifacts email our registrar at mpc-collections@byu.edu. Please include pictures of the artifact, the location of its origin, the date of the object and any other important information about the artifact so that we can catalogue it appropriately. *We cannot accept artifacts without this information.

DOES THE MUSEUM ACCEPT DONATIONS?

Yes. Monetary donations can be placed in our donation box in the foyer of the museum or online at give.byu.edu/mpc.

IS PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED IN THE EXHIBIT?

Yes, photography is allowed. You are free to take pictures in the exhibit. Don’t forget to add our hashtag: #byumpc.