About the Museum


The MSU Museum is an innovative and experimental collaboratory that exists to catalyze creativity. Here, people can openly explore, express, and experiment with ideas across disciplines and interests, and indulge their natural curiosity about the world. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is the state’s first Smithsonian Affiliate. The MSU Museum is a registered scientific institution with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and a member of  the International Coalition of Sites Of Conscience.

Since 1857, the Museum has been collecting objects and specimens and creating exhibitions that reflect our shared histories and experiences. Collections and exhibitions are used as a catalyst in teaching, learning, and research creating a vital collaboratory for student and faculty success. Administratively at Michigan State University, the MSU Museum operates within the newly established University Arts and Collections unit within the Office of the Provost. The MSU Museum is also a a key contributor to Arts MSU, a strategic approach to elevating, integrating, and amplifying the arts on campus.


We envision an MSU community, inspired and informed by the arts and sciences, working collaboratively, creatively, and equitably to solve problems and pursue a better world for all.


The MSU Museum serves the Michigan State University community by facilitating and creating experiences at the nexus of the arts, sciences, cultures, and technologies.

Strategic Priorities

Eight goals govern the strategic direction of the MSU Museum over the next five years. These include:

  1. Becoming a visible catalyst for teaching, learning, and research at the intersection of the arts, sciences, and humanities.
  2. Serving as a vital creative collaboratory that advances student and faculty success at MSU.
  3. Attracting a growing number of students, faculty, researchers, and community members — year after year — as both visitors and participants engaged with MSU Museum’s programmatic offerings.
  4. Becoming recognized for the quality and uniqueness of the Museum’s practices and experiences.
  5. Better integrating within the MSU community by developing campus advisory councils that deepen the Museum’s work toward serving its mission.
  6. Developing a top-level advisory council with a composition and engagement that aligns with the Museum’s needs and aspirations.
  7. Building a growing base of annual donors, sponsors, and foundation/corporate/governmental supporters leading to an increasingly diversified revenue base.
  8. Securing sufficient financial and human resources to sustain the Museum and make it flourish.

Areas of Impact

We seek to drive impact in the following ways:

  • Students: Inspiring young adults to explore the world in a different way and to create something new. Enabling them to be agents for positive change through co-curricular, extra-curricular, and experiential learning.
  • Faculty: Collaborating with our academic community to bring research and ideas to life in exciting and relevant ways.
  • Community: Encouraging collaboration on campus and beyond to create new ways of constructing and solving problems, breaking paradigms, and shifting mindsets.
  • Excellence: Producing thought-leadership and serving as an example for the innovative new ways an academic museum serves its communities.

Smithsonian Institution Affiliate

Smithsonian Affiliate logo.The MSU Museum became Michigan’s first Smithsonian Affiliate in 2001, formalizing an ongoing exchange of research, programs, exhibitions and collections. Affiliate institutions borrow objects from the Smithsonian’s collections, and incorporate outreach services offered by the Smithsonian, including curriculum development, lectures, traveling exhibitions, workshops, and internships.

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