Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Kelly Dixon

Commitee Members

Donna McCrea, John Douglas


36 CFR 79, archaeological collections, collections management, curation, curation crisis, Fort Owen 24RA148, Ghost Cave 24YL2, NAGPRA, Pictograph Cave 24YL1, University of Montana Anthropological Curation Fac


University of Montana


Museum curators, archaeologists, and researchers have recognized that a “curation crisis” exists at various American institutions housing artifacts and other archaeological materials. While this is an international phenomenon, the crisis in the United States is linked with a recent history of cultural resource management (CRM)—and academic research projects—having a tendency to survey, excavate, analyze, publish, and move on to the next project, often with little regard for the long term curation of the collections. What happens to these artifacts? Will they be available for the future? Here I examine the literature discussing the curation crisis, as well as federal laws (e.g., 36 CFR 79) pertinent to collections issues. Then I present a report describing The University of Montana’s Anthropological Curation Facility (UMACF) and outline the steps I took to bring the UMACF into compliance with 36 CFR 79. After considering the local and national curation crises within a framework inspired by the concept of value, I argue that the UMACF holds educational resources that are important to all of those connected to and interested in Montana’s cultural heritage and as such they should be managed according to current federal regulations and laws.



© Copyright 2011 Bethany Hauer Campbell