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The University Museum has been a repository of artifacts since Dr. Cyrus Thomas was commissioned to begin collecting for a museum by the first board of Trustees of Southern Illinois Normal University some time before 1871. The Museum formally opened to the public in 1874 and was located in the first Old Main Building. Since then, it has occupied 11 different locations across campus. The Museum has been located in Faner Hall since 1974. The American Association of Museums has accredited the University Museum since 1977. The Museum's 140 Anniversary Year was in 2014. 

Curators or Directors

  • 1874-1879 Cyrus Thomas
  • 1879-1917 George Hazen French
  • 1917-1921 Wanda Newsum (Gum)
  • 1921-1931 No Record
  • 1931-1937 Mary Goddard (Steck)
  • 1937-1943 Fred Roy Cagle
  • 1943-1950 John Willis Allen
  • 1950-1970 J. Charles Kelley
  • 1970-1972 Basil C. Hedrick
  • 1972-1975 Carroll L. Riley
  • 1975-1977 Basil C. Hedrick
  • 1977-1978 Darrell W. Harrison (interim)
  • 1978-2000 John Whitlock
  • 2000-2001 Lori Huffman (interim)
  • 2001-Present Dona Bachman