All the World Is Here

detail view of carved haida pipe in the shape of a stretched out man.

All the World Is Here: Harvard’s Peabody Museum and the Invention of American Anthropology

"A striking new exhibition" —Wall Street Journal

"A kaleidoscopic overview of human cultures, anthropology’s origins, and, the evolution, in real-time, of both." —Harvard Magazine

two visitors look at two human sculptures.

On April 22, 2017, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology celebrated its 150th anniversary year by opening All the World Is Here: Harvard’s Peabody Museum and the Invention of American Anthropology. Unveiled within a beautifully restored fourth-floor gallery, this exhibition features an astonishing array of over six hundred objects from Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, many on display for the very first time. Together they are woven into a compelling narrative tracing the early history of the museum’s collections and the birth of American anthropology as envisioned and shaped by the museum’s second director Frederic W. Putnam.

Visitors enter the world of a late nineteenth-century museum and are transported into the midst of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition where Putnam and the Peabody presented their anthropological vision and collections to a wider world.  The exhibits display remarkable and historically significant items including the dog sledge of Arctic explorer Admiral Robert Peary, exotic materials traded and collected by eighteenth-century Boston ship captains, and stunning archaeological works of art excavated from Ohio’s Turner Mounds.

garuda bird shadow puppet.

visitor in China trade section of gallery looks at face mask.

The Peabody Museum is pleased to open its doors and collections to the twenty-first-century public and invite them to be immersed in the fascinating story of a Victorian-era museum’s rise alongside the then-emerging field of American anthropology. 

See a collection of objects from the exhibition.

Learn more about the "Typical" Man and Woman sculptures in this online exhibition. They were the culmination of over a decade of labor by a Harvard professor who measured thousands of mostly white students to assess how exercise changed the human form.

nude male and female life-size statues.

visitors gather around latinx teen exhibit of chairs.

Take Your Place/Toma tu lugar

Local Latinx/a/o teens in the Hear Me Out/Escúchame project responded to All the World Is Here and the important World’s Fair of 1893. In this bilingual mini-exhibit on display in the exhibition, teens take their place in the museum to explore what they feel is important and still overlooked about their cultural identities. They created a group artwork, encrusting chairs with art , to display the parts of their identity they wished to share for an imaginary world’s fair of 2023. Visitors can contribute postcards describing their identities to complete the exhibition.

On view through October 15, 2022

Top: detail of Haida effigy pipe. Carved wood and ivory, with hinged arms. Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, Canada. ca. 1840, Gift of Frederick H. Rindge, 1894, 94-57-10/R195. Shadow puppet, 11-49-70/83325.

Exhibition Videos

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The Problem with Skin Color

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Why Social Anthropologists Still Study Race

Indigenous Partnerships

Measuring Human Variation

The 1893 "Average Man and Woman"


Human Evolution and Migrations

Tracking Human Change

Hieroglyphic Staircase Reassembly and Epigraphy


Current and Contemporary Field Archaeology in Copan, Honduras

Early Putnam Era History of Peabody Harvard Archaeological Investigations at Copan


The FeeJee Mermaid

See also: Exhibit Videos, Asia