Previous Exhibitions

Exhibitions are created annually by Cal Sate East Bay students in the Museum of Anthropology's gallery in Meiklejohn Hall. Below is a list of our past exhibitions. For some exhibitions the museum's ongoing Virtual Museum project has allowed us to re-imagine the experience of visiting the gallery for our online visitors.

Spring 2019 Exhibit

From Peralta Hacienda Historical Park in Oakland to Bay Area spiritual practitioners, this exhibit highlights the complexity of Latinx life. The museum provides refuge to folk saints unwelcome in the religious mainstream while offering a historical context to their Bay Area backdrop. From the veneration and worship of African and Native American gods to the quiet lives of colonial-era ranchers, the exhibit exposes the deep roots of contemporary Latinx culture in Northern California. Visitors are invited to commune with Latinx folk saints, experience East Bay history, and interact with technologies that transformed the area centuries ago

Partially reopened  Oct 25 - Dec 10, 2021 and Jan 31 - Mar 4, 2022

August 2022 - August 2023  - displayed at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park.

  • Location: 2465 34th Avenue, Oakland, CA  94601

Original Dates:

Opening reception Thursday, February 21, 2019 | 4:30 – 7 p.m.
Open Mon-Sat February 18 – May 17, 2019 | 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

'Botanica' installments comes to CSUEB - article about creating the 2019 exhibition.

A new gallery highlighting traditions and technologies of mud and mud-brick construction

Adobe: Of Dirt and Community

How long will your home last?

Your conventional home will probably not survive more than a few generations. Mud houses fashioned by our  ancestors survived thousands of years. If those walls could talk, they would tell stories of the many families that lived there and of the cultural change, conquests, and technological advancements that impacted them. The western landscape is peppered with mud-brick constructions, many of them right under our noses in the Bay Area. This exhibit places a spotlight on the beauty and complexity of adobe houses, ovens, and other mud constructions and their cultural significance.

Reopened  Oct 25 - Dec 10, 2021 and Jan 31 - Mar 4, 2022

Original Dates: Mon-Sat February 18 – May 17, 2019 | 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

"Of Dirt and Community," an East Bay Today article on studying the science behind adobe bricks.

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!


Against All Odds: Native California 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.


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.

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.

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.


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.


The Magic Lantern: Illuminating a Bygone Era

Once upon a time there was a world without moving pictures or even color photographs where the oil-fired Magic Lantern revealed images of far off lands and famous tales. Let us take you back to the ear a of lantern shows to experience the charm of hand-colored glass slides.

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


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

Why are people driven to collect? For millennia people and animals have accumulated things from the common to the extraordinary. 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.


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.

2010 Reception & Interviews

Experience the museum reception, as the students who created the displays describe the impact of trains on American culture and how they brought those stories to life.


2009 - Forgotten Contributions of the Bay Area Chinese

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. 

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.


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.


DNA: Cracking the Ancestor Code & Immigrants All! Our Migration Tales & Genetic Trails

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!

In the Shadow of Machu Picchu: Andean Life Past and Present

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.


Selected Earlier Exhibits

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.


Not Just Another Pretty Face: The Facts Behind the Artifacts

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.


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.


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.

  • Exhibit: February 27 through June 12,1998

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.


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


Images of West Africa


The Spirit of Thunder Mountain: The Krone Philippine Collection


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


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.


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

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.

  • Exhibit: April 23 through November 15, 1993

The Ohlone Indians of the Bay Area: A Continuing Tradition

  • Exhibit: Spring through Fall 1992

 The Philippine Story: Kahapon, Ngqyon at Bukas (Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow)

  • Exhibit: Winter through Fall 1991

Culture and Ecology of the Indonesian Rain Forest

  • Exhibit: Fall 1991

 California Indian Shamanism

  • Exhibit: Winter through Fall 1990

Bones of Contentions: Controversies in Human Evolution

  • Exhibit: Winter through Spring 1989

Western Pueblo Art and Architecture

  • Exhibit: Spring 1988

Seasons of the Kachina (virtual tour)


Mesas in the Bay

1984 to 1985

Give Peace A Chance - A Vision Of Peace Through Young People's Art

In 1984, Give Peace A Chance - A Vision Of Peace Through Young People's Art was conceived and organized by Dottie McElhiney. It showcased over 300 works of art by local Bay Area K-12 age school children who created images of their vision of peace.


Inaugural Exhibitions

  • Plains Indians Exhibit (Winter 1975)
  • Portuguese-American Cultural Week (Spring 1975)
  • Eskimo Exhibit