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Previous Exhibitions

In addition to our ongoing Virtual Museum project, our students present a new exhibition every year in Meiklejohn Hall. We are advancing our ability to recreate the experience of visiting the exhibits for our on-line visitors.

2018

Acorns, Adobes, and Archaeology: Sifting Through the East Bay’s Past

Today the six-acre Peralta Hacienda Historical Park in Oakland is all that’s left of an original 44,800-acre, 1820 land grant rancho spanning what would become 8 cities stretching from present-day Albany to San Leandro. Take a journey through time to learn about the original Ohlone residents and the Rancho Period at the C. E. Smith Museum of Anthropology’s latest exhibit. Learn about early ranching technologies, architecture, ceramics, and “garbology.” From beading to bricks and cordage to cows, visitors are invited to interact with the original technologies used to begin transforming the East Bay nearly two centuries ago!

2017

Against All Odds: Native Californian Stories of Endurance & Continuance

Have you ever wondered what happened to the first people of the place now known as Hayward and beyond?
The C. E. Smith Museum invites you to join Jalquin/Saclan Ohlone/Bay Miwok elder Ruth Orta and her five-generation, 60+ member extended family as they share details of their tribal, family, and ancestral history. Despite more than two centuries of upheaval, suffering, and change since the colonization of their homelands, against all odds the region’s first people continue to bring their cultures forward into the future while living as modern Americans.
2016

The Human Mosaic: Metadiversity

Celebrate your Culture and Embrace Diversity
The C. E. Smith Museum of Anthropology invites you to discover global perceptions of biological and cultural dimensions of diversity and to explore the diverse history of California.
Designed by students, The Human Mosaic exhibition explores human adaptation, gender, and concepts of race, showcasing the Middle East, Mali, and local Bay Area collections from different cultural periods of California.

2015

Genes & Genealogy: Revealing Our Hidden Identity 

We are more than meets the eye...
Visit the C. E. Smith Museum of Anthropology to learn more about what your distant cousins have been up to. CSUEB community members have investigated their ancestry & DNA to present exhibits celebrating the surprising diversity within us all. displays involve human migrations and immigration stories, including a Korean War brides; the science of DNA tests; connections through the Salem witch trials; and more. we invite you to explore the surprising connections we've discovered between all of humanity.

2014

The Woman with 1,000 Faces: From Mythic Matriarch to Modern Mystique 

Discover the shifting roles of women throughout the ages. From tales of Amazons to the fairytales of the 1800s, images of women have been woven into our consciousness. This exhibition features displays on various roles women have held in society as well as gender, feminism, and beauty. Interactive exhibits on women in the media and Celtic goddesses also help visitors delve further into the world of women. Genetically it comes down to just 1 different chromosome, but the world of women is so much more than just biological determination.

2013

Apocalypse and Adaptation

What does our apocalyptic obsession reveal about us? The 2013 exhibition explored the impact of catastrophes and adaptation in shaping societies. It investigated not only the role played by devastation, but also how societies have adapted to implement sustainability practices.

2012

The Magic Lantern: Illuminating a Bygone Era

Magic lanterns, the earliest means of projecting photographic images, and the glass slides they enlarged, are the subject of our 2012 annual exhibition.

2011

Stamps & Lamps, Toys & Tins: The Things We Collect & Why & Trails to Rails: Building the Transcontinental Railroad

This exhibition presented a variety of collections from our own Cal State East Bay community allowing visitors to discover the world of collectors, their intriguing stories, and the many reasons for collecting.

2010

All Aboard! The Impact of Trains on American Culture

At the center of the 2010 exhibition are selected items from a 500-piece collection of antique tinplate toy trains and HO models assembled by model railroading pioneer Richard "Dick" Wheeler of Monrovia, CA over a 93-year lifetime.

2009

Forgotten Contributions of the Bay Area Chinese & Life in the Ice Age

The exhibition expands upon subjects covered in "Ghosts of the Dam: The Chinese Laborers at Lake Chabot," honoring the Chinese workers who created the San Leandro Reservoir. Their story was virtually unknown until excavations 20 years ago unearthed a Lake Chabot labor camp, exposing the daily life of some 800 Chinese people.

2009 and 2008

Ghosts of the Dam: the Chinese Laborers at Lake Chabot

Museum students created this display for the University Library's "The Chinese-American Experience in California: A Cultural Festival." The festival commemorated the 1882 Exclusion Act that barred thousands of Chinese laborers from American citizenship.

2008

Kachinas: the Spirit of the Hopi

On display are handcrafted Kachina dolls, initially created to educate children, now a respected art form worldwide. More than 50 Kachinas from the Southwest are included in the exhibition as well as a wedding dress, and items from daily life.

2008 and 2007

DNA: Cracking the Ancestor Code

Most of us know where our grandparents came from and some of us even know the names of our great great grandparents. But have you ever wondered where your ancestors were living at the time of Julius Cesar or during the Ice Age? There's a new breed of scientist that is helping to answer such questions. Archaeogenetics are combining the fields of anthropology, history and genetics to trace the origins and migrations of our ancient ancestors across the planet. This complex and wonderful story is hidden in our DNA!

2004 and 2003

In the Shadow of Machu Picchu: Andean Life Past and Present (Virtua Tour)

Artifacts and dioramas of life in the Andes from 1000 BC to the present. Central to the exhibition was a multimedia display, entitled Virtual Machu Picchu, which allowed the visitor to electronically tour the ruins of the ancient city, excavate its artifacts and view numerous informational animations.

2002

And Down She Went: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Subterranean San Francisco But Were Afraid to Ask

This exhibition presented the story of the Rome, a Gold Rush era ship, discovered by archaeologists in 1994 forty feet beneath the San Francisco Embarcadero.

2001

Not Just Another Pretty Face: The Facts Behind the Artifacts (Virtual Tour)

This exhibition highlighted the contrast between the museum's most aesthetic, "pretty face" objects with the hundreds of broken and seemingly boring archaeological fragments that are stored behind the scenes. There is great public demand to frequently display the "pretty face" objects, yet ironically it is the broken fragments of stone and bone that have provided the most valuable cultural stories.

1999

Stone, Bones, Tales and Tongues: Discovering Anthropology

By means of artifacts, dioramas and computer interactive displays this exhibition presented examples of the four sub-fields of anthropology: archeology, biological anthropology, linguistics, and socio-cultural anthropology.

1998

Golden Dreams and Tarnished Realities: The California Gold Rush (1848-1855)

This exhibition commemorated the 150th Anniversary of the California Gold Rush with displays of photographs, artifacts, and dioramas that highlighted a most remarkable moment in California history and the impact it had on the state.

1997

Gifts of the Kachina: Art of the Hopi

This exhibition celebrated the Hopi Kachina ceremonial cycle through exhibition of 47 kachina dolls and other Southwestern artifacts from the Museum's own collections.

1996

Potions, Poisons and Elixirs: The Rush for 19th Century Bottled Gold

1995

The Spirit of Thunder Mountain: The Krone Philippine Collection

1995

Magic, Myth, and Legend of Borneo: A Platinum and Palladium Photo Portfolio

1994

Visions of Gum San: 150 Years of Chinese Experience in the San Francisco Bay Area

This exhibition chronicled the contributions of the Chinese to the Bay Area from the time of Gold Rush, through the Chinese Exclusion Act, and up until the present.

1993

Many Faces, Many Roots: Celebrating the Cultural Diversity of Cal State East Bay

Through family memorabilia, genealogical materials, migration maps, family stories, and computer animations, this exhibition showcased the tremendous diversity of Cal State's own student body and the complex migration histories, which have led students to the university.

1989

Bones of Contentions: Controversies in Human Evolution

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