Basic and applied research projects based on the Michigan State University Museum's Cultural Collections engage theories and practices informed by the scholarly disciplines of art history, cultural anthropology, cultural geography, folklore, history and historic preservation, and emerging subject-based and interdisciplinary fields.
Individuals and organizations from diverse communities initiate and collaborate in research projects. Research teams include both on- and off-campus members.
Projects include discovery research and inventorying (especially of intangible and tangible traditional cultural resources or assets), evaluation and assessment, creation of digital collections tools, etc.
Documentation (sound recordings, photographs, videotapes, field notes, reports, ephemera, objects, etc.) is deposited in the MSU Museum's Cultural Collections and the Michigan Traditional Arts Research Collections.
Research data has formed the basis for a wide variety of outcomes, including cultural policies, technical reports, exhibitions, festival programs, educational curricula, publications, and papers for both scholarly and general public audiences.