Had this essay been written even five years ago (in the mid-1990s,
rather than early 2001), I would have approached it in a different
manner. Many academic departments of anthropology still had a museum
collection, and the issue of how to make such a resource 'relevant' for
the student population as well as colleagues was still a live one.
While there are certainly departments of anthropology with a museum
adjunct, there are good reasons for questioning the almost automatic
assumption that anthropologists should be primarily concerned with
ethnographic collections in the conventional sense of that term. This
observation has far-reaching implications for the task of teaching
museum anthropology to contemporary students of anthropology, as I
shall argue in this chapter.