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The museum houses millions of objects and associated field notes, photographs, and correspondence, in its archaeology collections. The collections are a research base of national significance for studies of the Native American occupation of the South.

Arts and Culture

There are over 27,000 objects from around the world in the museum’s eclectic arts and culture collections, with strengths in natural history prints and maps, Chinese art, decorative arts, travel photography, and Native American material culture.

Arts and Culture Collections Search


The southeastern US is the epicenter of aquatic biodiversity in North America. With 300,000 cataloged and uncatalogued specimens, the malacology collection is the largest freshwater mollusk collection in Tennessee, and one of the largest in the US.


With hundreds of thousands of specimens, the paleoethnobotany collection has archaeologically recovered plant remains and data from 112 sites representing 10 states and 9,000 years of history.

Object of the Month

The Star

The Star, 1918, Harriet Whitney Frishmuth (American, 1880–1980), Bronze, Bequest of Frederick T. and Valerie K. L. Bonham, 1958.5.119.

Known for her elegant figurative sculptures, particularly of women, Frishmuth was one of the groundbreaking female sculptors of the early 1900s. Her characteristic interest in the female form is on display here: face upturned, the lithe figure arches her back and reaches into the sky, as if to the stars, with fingers gracefully splayed.

The McClung Museum has several of Frishmuth’s works in our collections. Female artists were often discouraged from sculpting full-scale, and encouraged to make diminutive, affordable “tabletop” sculptures like this one. However, The Star was so successful, that she made an enlarged version in 1923.

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