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About CMA

What we do

We engage with anthropological collections, diverse institutions and communities, and museum-related issues on multiple platforms, including CMA’s journal, Museum Anthropology, a regular column in Anthropology News, social media platforms, a biennial conference, mentorship programming, as well as seminars and special publications. CMA and the journal also maintain the Museum Anthropology Blog, which highlights breaking news in museum anthropology. The CMA supports and maintains a community dedicated to the advancement of the field.

Exploring museums as sites for fieldwork, anthropological research and representation, we:

  • Support the development of closer links between museum scholars and museum practitioners;
  • Promote the importance of collections, archives, and cultural heritage sites;
  • Work to enhance anthropology student training to integrate museum research and practice;
  • Draw attention to museums’ historical and present-day roles as key sites for anthropology as a discipline.

We recognize that museums are often contested spaces for communities who have been represented in and by them. We support and advocate for:

  • Increased diversity in disciplinary training and institutional hiring;
  • Community partnerships;
  • Environmental sustainability;
  • The use of curatorial practices of collection and display to pursue and disseminate anthropological research beyond museum walls.

Our Mission

The mission of the Council for Museum Anthropology (CMA) is to foster the development of anthropology in the context of museums and related institutions.

We are an all-volunteer membership section of the American Anthropological Association that serves scholars, practitioners, and students across the fields of anthropology, museology, cultural heritage, folklore, social studies of science, art history, history, and many more.