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Museum of Culture and Environment

The Museum of Culture and Environment approaches our diverse and changing world with an interdisciplinary perspective, examining human life, culture, and our interaction with the environment. The Museum is located in Dean Hall on the Central Washington University campus.

Current Exhibitions

The Living Room

The Classroom: Learning by Doing at Central

Stellar: The Formation of Stars (Dean Hall Lobby)

Panoramic shot of Jane Orleman's living room

Panoramic shot of Jane Orleman's living room. Photo by Rob Fraser.


Keep up to date with the Museum newsletter! Subscribe for quarterly updates and occasional event reminders. Read the latest issue: March 23, 2018.  


When: Sept. 26, 2018 at 5:30 PM
What: MCE After Hours, Fall 2018 Edition

Help the MCE kick-off Fall 2018 on Wednesday Sept. 26 at 5:30 p.m. with an evening of food and music! Did you know that there are new exhibits at the Museum of Culture & Environment (MCE) almost every quarter? Fall 2018 brings three new exhibits to the MCE: The Classroom: Learning by Doing at Central delves into CWU’s history as the Washington State Normal School through a close examination of the work of Amanda Hebeler.  Latinx First!, the new Window on Central exhibition, celebrates recent Latinx “firsts” in governmental leadership and public service throughout the Pacific Northwest. Finally, find out what our everyday living spaces look like through the eyes of a dust mite in Diary of a Dust Mite, and exhibit that follows the journey of Margaret Mite, an adventuresome dust-mite who travels to Ellensburg on the search for a new home.

When: Oct. 18 at 5:30 PM
What: Lecture featuring Ellen Avitts, “(Re)Defining the Living Room, The Rhetoric and Reality of the Spaces in Which We Live”

In trendy home décor magazines and “staged homes,” images of living rooms reflect popular social and cultural ideals.  But how do these images relate to our everyday use of the living room? Join the Museum of Culture & Environment (MCE) on Oct. 18 at 5:30 pm as we welcome Dr. Ellen Avitts, architectural historian and CWU Associate Prof. of Art + Design.  Dr. Avitts will explore the hidden meaning of popular living room design in “(Re)Defining the Living Room, the Rhetoric and Reality of the Spaces in Which We Live.”  Dr. Avitt’s research on staged homes—and how consumers use these living spaces once they move in—will help us see living rooms in a different light.

When: Oct. 25 at 5:30 PM
What: Being the “First”—A Roundtable Discussion

In 2004, Chief Justice Ricardo Martinez became the first Latino judge in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington. Ten years later, Justice Mary Yu became the first Latina (and first openly LGBTQ person) appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court. Twelve CWU students spent spring 2018 interviewing these and other Latinx individuals, each of whom overcame racism and other forms of discrimination in order to become pioneers in public service.  On Oct. 25 at 5:30 PM these students will join the MCE in a roundtable discussion about their sacrifices, challenges, triumphs, as well as their advice for a new generation of Latinx “firsts.” This event is hosted in conjunction with the 2018 – 2019 Window on Central exhibition, Latinx Firsts in Public Service.

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