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Department of Anthropology


Photo by Ken Rahaim

Dept of Anthro
Department of Anthropology Staff, 1904,Smithsonian Institution Archives,NAA-42012
Anthropology is the study of human beings and societies in the past and present. The research conducted by the Department of Anthropology staff covers a wide range of topics and areas of the world. Some of the research topics include human-environmental interactions, population migration, origins of domestication, linguistics, and forensic anthropology.

Department of Anthropology Staff, 2007
Photo by Chip Clark

Smithsonian Secretary's Exhibition Award:
The Secretary’s Exhibition Award went to Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th Century, (February 2009--January 2013), co-curated by physical anthropologists Doug Owsley, curator of physical anthropology, and Kari Bruwelheide in the Smithsonian’s Department of Anthropology.

Smithsonian Secretary's Distinguished Research Lecture Award:
Dr. Adrienne L. Kaeppler, Curator of Oceanic Ethnology at the National Museum of Natural History, has been selected to receive the 2010 Secretary’s Distinguished Research Lecture Award.  She will deliver her lecture, “The Holophusicon and The Smithsonian: Two Extraordinary Institutions of Science, Curiosity, and Art,” on January 12, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. in Baird Auditorium at the Natural History Museum.
The Distinguished Research Lecture Award recognizes a scholar’s sustained achievement in research, longstanding investment in the Smithsonian, and outstanding contribution to a field, as well as his or her ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience.  

New to website: Staff Video Interviews: Behind the Scenes Look at Anthroplogists at Work Meet archaeologist Torben Rick, physical anthropologist David Hunt, collections manager Deb Hull-Walski, film archivist Pam Wintle, linguist Gabriela Pérez Báez, and community archaeologist Stephen Loring. Learn what inspired them to pursue their careers; the education needed to reach their career goals; about their work at the Smithsonian; and the role ethnological, archaeological, physical, and archival collections play in Smithsonian research and outreach.

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National Museum of Natural History?

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Anthropolog, the department's quarterly newsletter, reports on the activities of our research, collections, and outreach programs and staff. Past issues can be viewed online.


Upcoming Deadlines:

Application Deadline:
March 1, 2011
The Summer Institute in Museum Anthropology (SIMA)

Peter Buck Fellowships
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) announces the Peter Buck Fellowship Program, which will offer Postdoctoral and Graduate Fellowships to those wishing to work with advisors at NMNH. Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellowships may be up to three years in duration, Graduate Fellowships up to two years. Information for
Postdoctoral and Graduate applicants, including proposal guidelines and deadlines, areavailable here.
Peter Buck Fellowships are open to citizens of any country.

Recent Publications:

Living o

Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska is an exhibition catalog with essays and photography that provide an in-depth view of Alaska Native cultural heritage.


AnthroNotes, A National Museum of Natural History Publication for Educators

The expanded Spring 2010 issue focuses entirely on human origins in commemoration of the new The Daivd H. Koch Hall of Human Origins. Harper Collins is offering a 50% discount on the AnthroNotes compendium (see page 23).

Sign up for the electronic version.

Recent Exhibitions:


web exhibition:
A Million Feet of Film / A Lifetime of Friendship: the John Marshall Ju/'hoan Bushman Fim and Video Collection 1950-2000.

JamesFort Boy

Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th Century Chesapeake is an exploration of the human skeleton, revealing what forensic scientists can learn about a person’s age, ancestry, sex, and cause of death by examining the bones. Colonists of Jamestown, Virginia, and St. Mary’s City, Maryland, are the focus of a special forensic investigation.

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