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The museum houses millions of objects in its archaeology collections, which comprise one of the best archaeological collections in the United States and one of the most significant collections of Southeastern Native culture in the world.

The collections are primarily made up of the massive collections recovered from the Tennessee Valley Authority reservoirs on the Tennessee River and its tributaries between 1934 and 1982. The millions of artifacts—along with the associated field notes, forms, analysis sheets, drawings, photographs, and correspondence—are a research base of national significance for studies of the Native American occupation of the Middle South.

Archaeology Collections

While most of the archaeology collections are not available online, detailed listings of the specific collections is available in our Archaeology Collections Guide or by contacting the curator.

WPA Archaeological Photo Archives

A selection of photographs from the archaeological collections taken by Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers of archaeological projects conducted in preparation for Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) dam construction in the 1930s is available at the museum.

Laboratory of Environmental Archaeology (LEA)

The Laboratory of Environmental Archaeology (LEA) is a multidisciplinary Core Facility established to meet the growing needs of academic, governmental, and industry users in soil, sediment, and microartifact/ecofact analyses. Read More about LEA.

Researching the Collections

Learn more about conducting research within the Archaeology Collections.

Collection Loans

Loans of McClung Museum objects are only made to museums, universities, departments, or other organizations with the director’s approval. Learn more about Loan Requests

Curation Services

The McClung Museum meets federal standards as a repository for archaeological collections. For more information about fees and standards, please see Archaeological Curation.

Donating Objects

The museum occasionally accepts donations of objects that relate to the museum’s mission and complement existing collections. Learn more about Donating Objects. 

Object Identification

Museum curators are happy to assist with helping you identify your object in their respective areas of expertise. Learn more about Object Identifications.


The museum and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are committed to fulfilling obligations under NAGPRA. To learn more, see the University’s NAGPRA Committee website. Note that the NAGPRA Committee also has a policy listed regarding image usage for materials subject to repatriation.

Student and Volunteer Opportunities

The museum occasionally has internship, graduate assistant, and volunteer opportunities available, which are listed on our website. Learn more about Working at the Museum.