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Tribute – prepared by Michael D. Wiant, Ph.D., Adjunct Assistant Professor, Sociology-Anthropology


Kris Carson Travis (Major: Anthropology) started with an idea—to digitize the Ethnology Teaching Collection—and then assembled a team of University personnel to create this web-based Milner Library resource. Kris served as curator, photographer, database developer, and project coordinator, using an Independent Study to conduct research and develop skills. The result: a web-based application that provides Illinois State University students and faculty, and the web-linked world, extraordinary access to a unique collection of objects and portfolio of information. Kris’ accomplishments remind us of the power of a university to promote curiosity, learning, and service, and she encourages confidence in today’s students and their contributions to our future. 



Acknowledgments – prepared by Kris Carson Travis


Artifact Donations

Our appreciation goes to all those involved in the collecting, preservation, use, and digital presentation of this teaching collection. The artifacts in the collection were donated to the ISU University Museums by past ISU faculty and community members of the Bloomington/Normal area. ISU University Museums staff, volunteers, and student interns were instrumental in the care and preservation of artifacts until the collection was transferred to the Sociology and Anthropology (SOA) department upon the closing of the museum in 1991. Since 1992, the Ethnology Teaching Collection has been used for hands-on learning experiences.


Support and Expertise

Dr. Michael Wiant, Adjunct Assistant Professor at ISU and former Director of the Illinois State Museum, invested more than twenty-five years of care and preservation of the current Ethnology Teaching Collection. Utilizing the collection in his Introduction to Museum Studies course, Dr. Wiant gave students a glimpse into the important field of museum work. The Ethnology Teaching Collection is a legacy to his hard work and commitment to education through the use of museum collections. I am especially grateful to Dr. Wiant for his patient mentoring, inspiring encouragement, and continued support during all phases of this project, without which the online presentation of the Ethnology Teaching Collection would not have been possible.


Dr. James Skibo, SOA Department Chair, has been generous with his ongoing support for the care of the collection. The ISU Anthropology faculty and students provide valuable information regarding the artifacts.


The Introduction to Museum Studies course students have provided ongoing care for and use of this collection. They have created exciting and inspiring exhibits through the years, providing a valuable public and student educational resource. A very special thanks to Denavious Hoover for his photographic talents during the production of the final batches and his assistance with the collection management during 2018-2019. Kudos also goes to Dr. Michael Wiant for completing the last of the data adjustments for the online process. It would have been difficult to finish without their assistance.


Digital Collections

I am particularly grateful for the guidance of Patrice-Andre Prud’homme, Ph.D., former Head of Digital Collections. Patrice’s assistance with creating the data format and his expertise in the digitization process have been vital to this presentation. Sara Caldwell, Digitization Specialist at ISU’s Milner Library, skillfully adjusted the photos of the artifacts, revealing the best representation of the actual pieces. Without Patrice’s and Sara’s expertise and assistance this online teaching collection project would never have been accomplished. A sincere thanks to Angela Yon for taking on this project in its latter stages and assisting with its completion. We sincerely express our gratitude to Milner Library for the support of this project and allowing its presentation as part of their Special Collections website pages. We hope that the availability of ISU’s unique Ethnology Teaching Collection will educate, inspire, and entertain people across the globe for many years to come!








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