Museum of Peoples and Cultures

Today I decided to have another everyday BYU adventure, so I visited an oft forgotten area of campus even though tons of students walk right by it everyday. I visited the Museum of Peoples and Cultures in Allen Hall and tried to check out the Amanda Knight Building. These buildings aren’t used by students everyday like normal classroom buildings. They are both English Tudor style and were originally built as dormitories then used as the Language Training Mission, pre-MTC era.

Allen Hall or the Museum of Peoples and Cultures

This is an interesting little place. Built by students pre-WWII as a men’s dorm then during the war it was a women’s dorm and then the LTM until the MTC was complete. In 1980, the museum was opened. Their purpose: “to serve the academic mission of BYU and care for the anthropological, archaeological, and ethnographic collections in the custody of the University.”

I enjoyed the current exhibit, but unfortunately the Kachina exhibit ended today. The Fourmile Ruin exhibit is still running in the front room. Besides seeing some great and beautiful artifacts and learning about distant cultures it is a fun little adventure. My favorite part of the displays, besides the beautiful artifacts, were the excerpts from ancient stories. Some were quite amusing and entertaining like the one about the coyote who played dead then ate all the prairie dogs or the one that explained why ants have narrow joints between the sections of their bodies.

The Kachina exhibit was fascinating. I never really knew the orgin of the dolls or the whole festival surrounding Kachinas. After visiting Aztec Ruins National Monument, Mesa Verde National Park and Hovenweep National Monument in the four corners region, I have been curious to learn more about this ancient culture, especially their belief system.

I recommend the Museum of Peoples and Cultures. It was a quick adventure taking less than an hour and not far from campus. In addition to their normal museum hours, they have date night activities and family home evening activities and scout activity patches. It is located at 100 East and 700 North and is open Mon-Fri, 9-5. There is a Y lot and visitors parking across the street. Their new exhibition, Beneath Your Feet: Discovering the Archaeology of Utah Valley, opens April 21.

On this adventure I also checked out the Amanda Knight Building, but it was locked. It has a similar history to Allen Hall but is currently used as a temporary office building when buildings on campus are under construction. It is a beautiful building, and I assume it still has some of its charm inside.

Over the last couple of weeks until graduation, I will have a few more everyday BYU adventures. For sure, I will hike the Y, visit some of the early BYU buildings, and maybe check out some exhibitions in the HBLL, MOA or MLBM. I encourage you to go have your own adventure. Spend your lunch hour visiting a nearby gallery or museum or go to a building you’ve always admired and see if you can look around. Adventure is out there!

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