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Collections Management

The mission of the Collections Management program is to preserve and curate artifacts and their associated documents for academic research, public education, and use by Native Americans, archaeologists, historians, students, and others.

The program preserves and curates prehistoric and historic archaeological and ethnographic collections; encourages research; promotes the preservation of resources in partnership with American Indians and others; and advocates community involvement with the collections. The program meets federal and state legislation regarding care of the collections and fosters an understanding of the value and importance of the collections. The Collections Management Program provides advanced curation management and facilities for the care of over 600 collections and several hundred thousand artifacts.

The Collections Management Program also has an active Education Outreach program where experienced graduate students bring artifacts to the classroom for an interactive hands-on experience.

The history of San Diego State Collections Management began in the late 1950's when SDSU acquired archaeological and ethnographic collections. Most of our collections are the result of archaeological excavations by students and faculty at sites in the San Diego area. SDSU also curates collections from archaeological sites around the world, including other parts of California, Arizona, Nebraska, the Northwest Coast of North America, the Arctic, the American Woodlands, Baja California, Bolivia, Peru, Denmark, Sweden, Rome, Mesopotamia, and Africa. In addition, ethnographic items collected by John P. Harrington and others are curated at Collections Management program.

Archaeological collections curated at SDSU represent a significant resource for research and education. Collections Management has an active research program with opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to undertake independent studies and internships. Opportunities to learn about local archaeology, artifact identification, exhibitions, curation, and federal and state regulations are abundant.

Interns in the Collections Management serve a vital and significant role in the curation of archaeological collections. As part of this internship, students learn artifact identification and nomenclature. Students work with groundstone, chipped stone, ceramics, as well as shell and other items. Interns learn about the laws and regulations that guide curation practice, as well as the most up to date curation methods for archaeological and ethnographic artifacts. The curation methods used in the Collections Management Program follow those set forth by the National Park Service Museum Handbook, and the Federal Regulation “Care of Federally Owned and Administered Archaeological Collections” (36 CFR 79).

To begin an internship, students must register for Anthropology 495 (undergraduate) or Anthropology 795 (graduate). Forms are available in the Anthropology Office or can be downloaded below. Completion of (or current enrollment in) Anthropology 301, 302, 303, and 304 is prerequisite. For more information, contact Jaime Lennox at [email protected].

Download the Anthropology 495: Internship in Anthropology Form

Download the Anthropology 795: Internship in Anthropology Form

Help Preserve California's Past!

California has a rich historic and prehistoric heritage. The collections at SDSU represent and preserve this heritage. You can help to protect them by participating in our Educational Outreach Program. San Diego State University graduate students in anthropology visit public schools, private schools, or organizations to talk to students about archaeology. Archaeological collections will be brought to schools with information on California's exciting past.


  • What archaeology is
  • What an archaeologist does
  • What career opportunities are available within the field of archaeology
  • How archaeologists are unlocking secrets of ancient life, not only world-wide, but right here in San Diego

Our goal is to stimulate the student's interest in archaeology, while at the same time recognizing the importance of cultural heritage, and to respect the archaeological record by not removing artifacts or damaging sites.

Available to grades Kindergarten through 12, by appointment

Important Documents

Contact Us

Archaeology Collections Management Program
San Diego State University 
5500 Campanile Drive 
San Diego, CA 92128-6040

Phone: (619) 594-2305

Jaime Lennox, Director 
Phone: (619) 594-4575 
Email: [email protected]

Education Outreach Coordinator 
Email: [email protected]