Today, images of artifacts from the Museum of World Cultures are not only available to a global audience through the Internet--they are also available by touring across the campus through various exhibits spanning the cultures of the globe. It's a journey from Africa to Indonesia, from the South Pacific to Latin America with destinations in between. The museum has traveled far since its origin in 1981 as an idea born of Dr. Gerald H. Shinn, who became the first director and curator.

A UNCW Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Religion - long known as a citizen of the world whose nationality is goodwill - Dr. Shinn's tireless efforts as seen today speak well of his vision to educate on diverse world cultures.

Along the way, leaders from academic and supporting communities, locally and across the state solidified the Museum's central educational mission: to enhance the University with a strong focus on the creation of learning opportunities through the use of historic physical artifacts. The pioneers envisioned much of today's museum without walls as a vehicle to secure artifacts and promote scholarship and teaching through the interaction with those artifacts.

Today's mission encompasses:

  • Making available artifacts into classrooms as teaching tools.
  • Providing learning opportunities through display (on campus, in the community and online).
  • Collecting and preserving historic artifacts for use by future generations.
  • Providing student education and service learning artifacts in support of museum studies, religion, history, anthropology and other disciplines.
  • Developing and promoting museum-based enrichment, learning and study to the greater community.
  • Sharing artifacts with a global audience via the Internet.