The Museum of Anthropology serves the university community and the general public through educational displays and presentations, support for university and public school classes, and assistance with research.
Museum displays are designed to provide information about the field of anthropology and how it helps us understand human culture and history, using materials from the museum's collections.
Advancing the teaching of anthropological concepts is a primary function of the museum, and professors from the Department of Anthropology use the museum as a convenient teaching tool. University students have a variety of class assignments related to interpretation of the museum exhibits. Student teachers from the College of Education come to the museum to develop lesson plan assignments; students from the Department of Fine Arts come to sketch exhibits; English students write papers about exhibited materials; students learning English as a second language practice the language by describing what they have seen in the museum.
Materials from the museum's collections are made available for scholarly research. Information about all of the ethnographic collections and many of the archaeological collections has been entered into a database system, facilitating searches for particular categories of objects. In the future, these databases will be available on-line.