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Huge Boost to Anthropology Collections
What the Museum was not known for in the late ’60s was its tiny ethnographic (cultural anthropology) collections. Then in 1968, Roy E. Coy, a new assistant director, wrote to some longtime friends to ask their help in developing a planned North American Indian hall. Francis V. and Mary W. A. Crane owned the Southeast Museum of the North American Indian in Marathon, Florida, about 100 miles south of Miami. They had been looking for a new home for their collections, and Coy’s request prompted them to give the entire contents of their museum to the Denver museum. The DMNS suddenly owned the largest ethnographic collection between Chicago and Los Angeles.

Thanks to the Cranes, the Museum now had artifacts representing every major American Indian tribe from Alaska to the Everglades. The 14,000 artifacts in the Cranes’ collection filled four moving vans and established our North American Indian Cultures exhibition, the Mary W.A. and Francis V. Crane Hall. Our ethnographic collections have since grown to about 25,000 objects, but artifacts donated by the Cranes continue to be mainstays of our exhibit cases and valuable references for ethnologists.

Introduction—100 Years Young
Chapter 1—A Museum is Born
Chapter 2—Placing the Museum on the Map
Chapter 3—A Director Leaves a Lasting Impression
Chapter 5—IMAX Comes to Denver
Chapter 6—New Programs Thanks to New Funds
Chapter 7—Launching the Space Science Initiative

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