The Gabel Museum has a small collection of artifacts, storage areas, a computerized artifact catalog, and a work area for examining artifacts and preparing displays. There are exhibit cases both within the museum and throughout the hallways. The purpose of the Gabel Museum is to provide materials for teaching and to give interested students an opportunity for hands-on experience with a museum collection. Members of Boston University’s Archaeology Society presently work as curatorial assistants learning basic museum methods and at the same time contributing to the museum catalog.
Many of the materials being studied are American Indian artifacts donated by Charles Herbert Mitchell to Boston University in 1936. The collection is varied and includes ground stone implements such as axes, adzes, net sinkers, mortars, pestles, and querns. There are also hundreds of projectile points dating from Palaeoindian to early historical times, as well as Southwestern pots, wampum beads, game stones, and pipes.
In addition to the Mitchell collection, the museum has a small collection of African materials generously donated by Professor Creighton Gabel and a representative collection of Greek antiquities contributed by Professor James Wiseman. These three collections form the core of the museum’s holdings. In addition, the Gabel Museum has the Percy Woodward collection of Egyptian, Mesoamerican, and South American artifacts on loan from Boston University’s Theology Library. The Woodward artifacts include Egyptian amulets, figurines, and small sculptures; decorated pottery and figurines from Aztec Mexico; South American textiles; and a large wooden cup called a kero from 17th or 18th century Peru.