In 1911, the University of Illinois established museums of classical and European culture on the fourth floor of Lincoln Hall, drawing upon the university's 1874 Gregory collection. An Oriental museum was added in 1917. Over time, the museums were combined and eventually renamed the World Heritage Museum in 1971.
The museum holds approximately 45,000 artifacts. Significant collections include one of the world's most complete casts of the Parthenon Frieze, an extensive collection of Merovingian bronzes, nearly 2,000 cuneiform tablets dating back to the third millennium BCE, a world-renowned collection of Canelos Quechua ceramics, a seminal collection of Plains Indian cultural materials, and the largest collection of Amazonian bark cloth in the United States.
A generous gift from William and Clarice Spurlock of Indianapolis funded the construction of the new Museum facility. Opened in 2002, the Spurlock Museum features cultural galleries that reflect the diversity of the museum's collections, augmented with noteworthy artifacts from the Museum of Natural History and the Department of Anthropology.
To find out more about the history of the Spurlock Museum, follow any of the links to the right.