The Mathers Museum of World Cultures (MMWC) is Indiana University's museum of ethnography, ethnology, and cultural history. Through its collections, exhibits, and programs, the Museum is dedicated to preserving and promoting knowledge of the world’s cultures, past and present. In all of its activities, the Museum strives to further its audiences’ understanding of both the diversity of the world’s specific cultures and the underlying unity of culture as a human phenomenon. This site presents digital exhibitions born out of the museum's programs and drawing upon its collections.
The Mathers Museum of World Cultures Digital Exhibition site builds upon work begun in 2009 under the auspices of the Southeastern Native American Collections Project (SNACP), a collaborative research effort that endeavors to document, recontextualize, and make available ethnographic museum collections made among the Native American communities of the Southeastern United States. During the SNACP phase of this effort (2009-2013), core project participants included Jason Baird Jackson (Indiana University), Jody Perkins (Indiana University and University of British Columbia), Ellen Sieber (Indiana University), Garett Montanez (Indiana University), Adedoyin Adenuga (University of British Columbia), and Adam Brownfield (University of British Columbia). The initial SNACP phase (2009-2013) was supported by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Indiana University with additional assistance provided by the Indiana University Libraries, the IU Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, the IU College of Arts and Sciences, and the Division of Ethnology at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.
Work on the Mathers Museum of World Cultures Digital Exhibition site began in January 2014 as an outgrowth of an exhibition project called Ojibwe Public Art, Ostrom Private Lives. During spring 2013, students in the MMWC-based course Curatorship began work with collections donated by Elinor and Vincent Ostrom. With financial support from the College of Arts and Sciences's Ostrom Grant Program, an gallery exhibition (focused on Ojibwe materials in the Ostrom Collection) was developed during fall 2013 and openned in January 2014. Project work then shifted to the development of a digital version of the exhibition. That project provided the basis for the establishment of MMWC Digital Exhibitions site. Participants in this project are identified in association with the Ojibwe Public Art, Ostrom Private Lives exhibition found elsewhere on this site.
The Indiana University Libraries provides hosting and technical support for the Mathers Museum of World Cultures Digital Exhibition site. The project relies upon Omeka, a free, open source software platform for sharing collections and building digital exhibitions.