Anthropology Lab And Collections

The Anthropology Program is housed on the third floor of Koren, Luther College's first dedicated library, built in 1921. The department facilities include 5 faculty offices, the departmental office, the Anthropology Lab, and the Collections Storage Area in the basement of Preus Library.

Luther College Anthropology Collections

The Luther College Anthropology Program manages three collections of material culture: Ethnographic, Archaeological, and Numismatic Collections.

The ethnographic collections are comprised of over 1,000 objects collected from around the world. Our archaeological collections, primarily focused on the prehistoric and historic peoples of Northeast Iowa, details over 8,000 years of human history in the Upper Midwest. Finally, the numismatic collection consists of an assortment of coins and notes from around the globe. Luther's collections contain a wealth of cultural and historical information that can be used in numerous ways to educate as well as fascinate those who would otherwise not have a chance to experience and appreciate such diverse cultures.

The anthropology collections are supported in part by an endowed fund established for the purpose of managing and maintaining a material culture resource in perpetuity. The management and preservation of our collections is intended to provide the Luther College faculty, students, and outside professionals with a useful resource for scholarly research. The collections are also made available to surrounding communities to be used in outreach programs, exhibits, and other educational forums to facilitate appreciation and understanding of Iowa's and the world's rich heritage. The collections are administered by faculty member and director Dr. Colin Betts and managed by the laboratory and collections manager Dr. Destiny Crider.

The Anthropology Lab: Resources

  • Computer workstations with ArcView, SPSS, Microsoft Office, and other software.
  • Digital cameras, GPS and Total Station equipment
  • NextEngine portable 3D scanner
  • Transcription machines, stereoscopes, GPS and Total Station equipment
  • Teaching collections which include a wide range of prehistoric stone tools, ceramics, faunal material, raw stone collections, and an osteology collection.
  • Former Professor R. Clark Mallam's slide collection containing historic photographs, teaching illustrations, excavation photos and aerial photographs of outlined Effigy Mounds.


The Luther College Anthropology Lab provides students with training in collections management, research, and exhibit development and offers a number of work study positions for Anthropology majors.

Hands-On Experience with a New Collection

Anthropology student workers are tasked with analyzing and categorizing Luther College's sizable collection of Hmong tapestries and lineages.

Read about Luther's new Hmong collection and how students are getting hands-on experience with cataloguing documents and textiles.