Innovation Gallery

ASU Museum of the Human Story

A part of ASU's Museum of the Human Story, the Innovation Gallery is housed on the ASU Tempe campus in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change building. Innovation Gallery is a public space to enjoy free, informative exhibits and programming related to our research. Faculty and graduate students frequently use the gallery as a laboratory to interpret, design and develop unique and interactive exhibitions. We also draw from the vast archaeological, ethnographic and scientific collections maintained by the university or provided by community partners.

Innovation Gallery hours of operation: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., excluding university holidays

  Map and directions 

Current exhibit

Our current exhibition showcases some of the research taking place by graduate students in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. From primatology to bioarchaeology to sociocultural anthropology, their projects highlight the vast array of work being done in the school to better understand the global human experience.  

Past exhibits

 Hand Made: Continuances in Traditional and Contemporary Art 
October - December 2022

Virtual Tour available here!

“Hand Made: Continuances in Traditional and Contemporary Art” – presenting art pieces from the SHESC/CAS Latin American Folk-Art collection, and art pieces made by contemporary Arizona Chican-Latina/o/x artists Zarco Guerrero, Larry Yanez, Carmen DeNovais-Guerrero, Vicente Telles, and Emily Costello.

Curated by Marco Albarrán, Collections and Exhibit Planning Manager at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. This exhibit project is a collaboration between the SHESC Exhibits program, DEI Community Exhibit Initiatives, the Center of Archaeology and Society Repository and invited Arizona artists. 

The exhibition highlights continuances in techniques and designs emanating from pre-colonial to contemporary times for Latin American and Latina/o/x artists. Specifically, art making techniques and designs made throughout the various regions of Latin American and the U.S./Arizona.

What is artesania or craft art? It is a system of communal values and aesthetics, that has been passed down through generations of people who possess local or akin knowledge of materials, techniques and customs. The objects created many times embody the everyday lives or experiences of the people who crafted them – as beliefs, dreams, childhood, relationships, livelihood, among others. Today, artesanos (artisans) living in the many countries of Latin America continue in creating original art pieces, and their artesania (craft work) is now influencing new generations of artists both in ideas and techniques. Artesania is continually changing as much as it is interwoven with perspectives of what it is fine art, which historically has deemed “fine art” only if it is Westernized enough.

About the SHESC/CAS Latin American Folk-Art collection. During the summer of 2007, the School of Human Evolution and Social Change acquired this collection from the Arizona State University’s Center for Latin American Studies through Jerry Ladman Ph.D. Ladman an economist who directed the center and started this collection in 1976, acquired it from his research-related travels throughout Latin America. While the collection began about 46 years ago, its entrance into SHESC’s collections invited new opportunities for research, education and exhibitions.

3,000 Years of Mexican and Central American Culture: The Deep Roots of Domestic Life in Mesoamerica
February - May 2022

Indigenous cultures in Mexico and Central America have experienced many transformations over time. However, long-lasting cultural continuities can still be seen in native societies in this region called Mesoamerica. These continuities, including maize foods, pottery making, textile weaving, and rituals for healing and community cohesion, remain because of their connections to domestic life. Some of these traditions are even found today in societies in New Mexico and Arizona. This exhibit introduces Mesoamerican cultural features that have continued in some form over 3,000 years or more –the deep cultural roots of household traditions. The clothing, domestic pottery, household utensils, foods, ritual items, and art in this exhibit speak to these continuities. Through the objects and themes on display, we engage with local communities on interesting and important topics that unite us: households, everyday living, human creativity and cultural identity. 

The exhibit will be in the Innovation Gallery in the second-floor lobby of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change (SHESC) building at ASU from February to May of 2022. We will also present the exhibit virtually. Later, the banners and posters will travel to ASU West Fletcher Library during the Fall 2022 semester and to the ASU Downtown Library in the Spring 2023 semester. We anticipate that the exhibit will subsequently travel to community spaces by developing collaborations with local partners. 

Click here for a virtual tour

Revealing Artifacts: New Research with the Roosevelt Archaeological Collections at ASU
February-June 2020

Artifacts and records from massive excavation projects around Theodore Roosevelt Lake in central Arizona’s Tonto Basin make up some of the largest archaeological collections at Arizona State University. This material is an invaluable resource for new research. This exhibition features artifacts and images from the Roosevelt collections, specifically highlighting new research with Roosevelt Red Ware pottery as an example of the research potential of the collection.

Metzilocan Extension
March-September 2019

Contemplate the "Monolith of Tlaloc" in the gallery. This display is an extension of the new "Metzilocan" exhibit at the nearby ASU Art Museum, which chronicles artist Claudia Peña Salinas’ research on the Aztec deities of water, relating ancestral symbolism and knowledge to modernist and contemporary structures. The gallery will also feaure items from the school's Latin American collection that were hand-selected by Salinas to accompany her artwork.

Revisiting the Latin American Folk-Art Collection
September 2018-February 2019

This exhibit is curated by students of the museum studies program at SHESC. It features 104 items from the school’s Latin American folk-art collection of over 400 pieces. Arranged around the themes of daily life, spiritual beliefs, animals and nature, the exhibition speaks to the diversity of Latin American culture. The collection came to the school in 2008 and, a decade later, provides a new opportunity to appreciate these works in the recently renovated Innovation Gallery.