Mathers Museum Mission Statement

The Mathers Museum is Indiana University’s museum of world cultures. 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.

The museum fosters Indiana University’s role as a public educational and research institution by holding specialized collections of material culture in trust. Proper use of these collections is the core of the museum’s mission, which may be described in terms of preservation, research, and communication.

To preserve knowledge of the world’s cultural heritage, the museum acquires and conserves collections of material culture. The museum acquires only collections that serve its stated purpose. The museum strives to meet the highest standards of conservation in maintaining its collections, so that they may be preserved for future generations. The museum applies the same standard of stewardship to the documentation of the objects in its collections and seeks constantly to expand and improve that documentation.

The museum’s collections are available to scholars, students, and interested members of the public for research. The museum also emphasizes two other aspects of its research mission. First, the museum trains students to conduct research on material culture, so that knowledge and understanding of the world’s cultural heritage may be enhanced in future generations. Second, the museum is committed to improving informal education by making its exhibits and programs available to faculty and students doing research on methods and results of informal education.

The museum’s communication mission is three fold. First, through exhibits and educational programming the Museum provides audiences of diverse ages and backgrounds with opportunities for informal, non classroom education about the world’s cultural heritage. Second, the museum enhances classroom teaching, both at Indiana University and in other Indiana schools at all levels. To achieve this end, when the prerequisite of conservation has been met, the museum makes it collections available for course work, along with the expertise of its staff. Third, the museum helps train students for careers in museums by providing classes in museum studies and other opportunities for experience in museum work.

In all activities, the museum serves its diverse audiences by providing educational experiences that meet the highest standards of scholarship and, within the Museum’s means, the highest attainable standards of presentation. In turn, the museum serves Indiana University by making the university’s research and reaching about the world’s cultures accessible to the broadest possible audience.