By Davis Hill
Few current EWU students know that Hargreaves Hall once housed a locally renowned anthropology museum.
The museum, whose contents are currently in storage on campus, served as an attraction for local grade schools, students and visitors from Idaho and other parts of Washington state.
It was originally located in the basement of the old Hargreaves Hall until the fire marshal deemed it unsafe.
After being moved out of Hargreaves Hall, the museum was to be reinstalled in Isle Hall (home of the anthropology program), but the space was used for the relocation of The Easterner’s offices in the early 2000s.
Most of the items are now in storage in Cheney Hall, but several boxes were unearthed in The Easterner offices recently.
Whale bones, a stuffed owl, a map of the Pacific coast — these items hint at the history of the museum.
Dr. Jerry Galm, EWU professor of anthropology, recalls the museum fondly.
“It used to be one of the top draws to this campus,” he said.
“If you looked at an older official highway map, it would say, ‘Anthropology Museum’ in larger letters then ‘Eastern Washington University.’
“For 25 years, it was an absolutely wonderful contribution to our campus,” Galm said. “It highlighted our program, gave students a place to work, [and] connected this institution to the community.”
Galm explained that the museum was known for its detailed, student-produced dioramas of the 10 acknowledged cultural regions of North America.
In addition, it housed rotating exhibits, local artifacts and donated or loaned items from other institutions across the country.
Almost all of the museum work was done by volunteers, Galm said.
EWU students also had the option of taking museology courses, in which they led tours, helped build and maintain exhibits and learned about museum curating.
“It’s one of those small little gems that add to Eastern,” Galm said.
“Local people were very proud. … The Native American community took pride in it because the exhibits were so well done.”
Many in the anthropology program, Galm explained, would like to see the museum restored.
“It’s getting close to a decade of [being] in limbo,” he said, shaking his head. “It’s really too bad that we were unable to get it reopened. It’s time we did something with the materials.”
When asked about the future of the museum, Galm was hopeful.
“It could be set up again soon,” he said.
“Things were removed carefully and are ready to be reinstalled. We have faculty qualified [and] ready to teach museology.”
“We did this all ourselves. We have the wherewithal right now. We just need the space.”
“It was a big winner for campus, and it could be again.”
You can see more photos of the former museum’s contents here