About the Peabody Museum

Founded in 1866 by philanthropist George Peabody, the Peabody Museum is among the oldest anthropology museums in the world, and still occupies its original nineteenth-century building.  The museum’s mission and operations, however, have changed considerably over the past one hundred and fifty years.

The Peabody Museum at Harvard University is located on the tribal homelands of the Massachusett people. We acknowledge the continuing presence of the Massachusett, and the neighboring Wampanoag and Nipmuc peoples. We also recognize the indigenous peoples represented in the Museum’s collections and exhibitions.

The Peabody is well known for its significant collections of archaeological and ethnographic materials from around the world, many of which were acquired during the era of European and American expansion, exploration, and colonization.


Our Mission

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology engages in, supports, and promotes the study and appreciation of ancient and contemporary peoples from around the world. The Museum collects, preserves, and interprets cultural and related materials and offers unique opportunities for innovative teaching, research, and enrichment at Harvard and with communities worldwide.

The Peabody Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and aspires to maintain the highest standards of collections care, interpretation, and education.



Encounters with the Americas gallery.