Matson Museum of Anthropology, State College

#22 of 22 in Things to do in State College
Specialty Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
Matson Museum of Anthropology is located in State College. Put Matson Museum of Anthropology on your schedule, and learn what else deserves a visit by using our State College trip planner.
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Matson Museum of Anthropology reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
5 reviews
  • I was a graduate student when Dr, Matson was an Anthropology professor in the combined department of soc and anth. I was a sociology student but made sure I took a course from her. The Museum is a...  more »
  • Have been going here since I was a little kid and now love taking my kid. So many cool things to see!  more »
  • I discovered this place on Google Maps. Prior to my visit, I thought it was going to be like many other campus museums that I had seen: one to a few rooms located in a department building, with objects crammed inside glass cases and large amounts of text attached. They are more like cabinet of curiosities from the past than a museum in modern time. Strictly speaking, Matson is still such a place, but it is a very nicely done one. It has three rooms, with ample seating. I didn't feel a lack of space to move around (museums in old campus buildings sometimes suffer from this issue). Themes of exhibits are varied, from evolution which is more often seen in natural history museums, to ethnology - center of a traditional anthropological museum. On the down side, the interpretive labels are not museum-level, that is, they lack basic information such as date and material of artifacts. Way of interpretation is almost exclusively text. Graphics and interactives would make welcome additions, but funding could be a problem (would squeezing in a little gift shop help?). Exhibits, while covering a diverse range of topics, lack a unifying narrative (you may argue that anthropology is the big idea, and I'll take that, but to me it is too broad). I don't think Matson counts as a PSU campus attraction. But it is steps away from the Nittany Lion Shrine, and it is free. Spend some time in exploring it before or after you snap pictures of the lion, and you might be surprised (be sure to check its hours beforehand). Although I still can't justify calling this place a museum, I enjoyed it for longer than I had expected, and I hope that you would enjoy visiting it, too.
  • Nice little collection

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