From The Desk Of The Museum Director

Dear Visitor,

Ben W. Porter

Welcome to the Hearst Museum of Anthropology! I am honored and excited that the University has asked me to lead this exceptional cultural institution and its committed staff of museum professionals. For the past 114 years, the Hearst Museum has remained a steadfast beacon of Anthropology and related disciplines such as Archaeology, Art History, Classics, Egyptology, and Folklore. Anthropology museums like the Hearst offer rich resources where all people—students, researchers, and descendent communities—can explore humanity’s fundamental questions, challenges and opportunities.

UC Berkeley’s sense of discovery and invention runs in its DNA. Our Museum demonstrates this ethos as it carries out the educational vision of its founder, Phoebe A. Hearst, and continues the research mission of past Museum curators, such as anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, paleoanthropologist Francis Clark Howell and Egyptologist Cathleen Keller, to name but a few of the intellectual giants that have roamed our halls. It is truly humbling to be working with the Museum’s current faculty curators, all leaders in their respective fields who play essential roles in the research and management of our collections. Contributions of the Museum’s Native American Advisory Council in matters of policy, interpretation, and education are helping us to cultivate the Museum’s collaborative relationships with descendant communities. The Museum's Advisory Board, a collection of alumni, museum professionals, faculty, and students, is also growing and helping me develop the Museum in a thoughtful and sustainable manner.

Because the Museum is a dynamic location for teaching, research, and consultation, there are new developments to report nearly every week. Be sure to check our website for frequent updates.

In the meantime, I am glad to report a number of exciting developments:

  • The Museum successfully completed its inaugural crowdfunding campaign to study and install a 3-ton Egyptian coffin lid in the entrance of our new Kroeber Hall gallery. Visit our page to learn more about the campaign.
  • Museum conservator Jane Williams recently collaborated with a team of scientists in an innovative study to understand pigment recipes used to paint Egyptian mummy portraits. Read the story here.
  • Our irreplaceable archive of wax cylinder sound recordings continue to be reconstructed through Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory physicist Carl Haber’s IRENE project.
  • The Museum is in the middle of a generous $300,000 challenge grant from the Koret Foundation. Every gift is matched dollar-for dollar and contributes to the Museum's Learning Center in its Kroeber Hall Gallery. Click here to make a gift.
  • The Museum is participating in a two-year Catalyst Award program funded by UC President Janet Napolitano to develop new digitial technologies to promote the preservation of cultural heritage in the Middle East. Berkeley undergraduates are building a structure-from-motion studio, among other things, to construct 3D images of artifacts. Read more about the system-wide program here.
  • Stay tuned for exciting developments about accessing our entire collections on-line, including over 275,000 new images!
  • And several behind-the-scenes developments are taking place now and into next year, including the reopening of our Kroeber Hall gallery. Click here for details.

Thanks again for visiting our website and I hope to meet you soon at the Museum or around campus.


Benjamin W. Porter, PhD


Hearst Museum Collections Portal

The Hearst Museum's new Collections Portal is now online with information for every object in our collections and over 323,000 photos.

Click on image to the left or enter a keyword below to start your search.