History of the MAE


The Simon Fraser University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (MAE) was created in 1965 by Dr. Roy Carlson, who was also the founder of the Department of Archaeology at SFU. The early mandate of the Museum was to receive archaeological materials from department excavations, and to collect and exhibit anthropological materials that would help students better understand archaeological materials.

Many of the early collections grew from large archaeological excavations in British Columbia in the 1960s and 1970s. Some materials were also purchased at auctions, donated, or acquired from other institutions. More recently, a focus on online and virtual exhibits has offered many SFU students the opportunity to become familiar with digital museum spaces. Large donations of photographs and slides have proved invaluable in showcasing early sites and fieldwork.

Educational programming has always been an important part of the Museum’s role. Museum studies courses offered in the Department of Archaeology focus on important topics like collections management, archaeological conservation, anthropological art history, and others. In 2012, a Research Associate program was developed to offer students (both undergraduate and graduate) with job-relevant experience working in museum and heritage contexts. Many exhibits in the Museum have been designed and executed by students involved in this program.

The Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology has been an important part of the history of both the Department of Archaeology and Simon Fraser University. To learn more, please see the History of the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, 1965–2021.