The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology seeks to inspire creative and critical thinking about global cultures, past and present, through interdisciplinary understandings of the material world.  Established in 1956, the museum sponsors original research, innovative teaching, and public education while stewarding a collection of over one million archaeological and ethnographic objects.  The Haffenreffer Museum serves Brown University's students and faculty, the city of Providence, the state of Rhode Island, and the general public.


By preserving the material culture and archival collections in a manner consistent with respect for traditions of their makers; and by conserving all collections in secure, ample storage facilities and according to established professional practices in conservation, fulfilling thereby the commitment of the university to the public trust, to museological practice and ethics, and to the museum's donors.  


By acquiring archaeological, ethnological, and contemporary collections through fieldwork, gift or purchase, which will enhance the museum's value for research and teaching; by setting priorities for acquisitions; by upholding appropriate conventions, resolutions, and laws on cultural property; by ensuring that new collections can be responsibly conserved and stored; by establishing policy for deaccessions; and by reserving proceeds from any deaccessions for strengthening collections.


By emphasizing the importance of object-based teaching and learning and supporting existing and new courses offered at Brown University and elsewhere; by educating Brown University undergraduate and graduate students and the entire public about cultural similarities and diversity through programs and lecture series; by educating primary and secondary school students and teachers in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts through a Public Outreach program. 


By mounting regular exhibitions for the Brown University community as well as for the museum's various publics; by providing opportunities for Brown undergraduate and graduate students to learn contemporary exhibition practices, and by loaning objects to other museums for exhibition and public display.


By facilitating research by Brown University faculty and staff on our collections which are the raw data for creative thought in anthropology and other fields; by facilitating research by Brown undergraduate and graduate students, by facilitating research by external scholars, and by publishing this research in order to make it accessible to wider audiences.