The Museum originated with the private collection of Rudolf F. Haffenreffer, who founded the King Philip Museum in the early 20th century on the Mount Hope Grant in Bristol RI, the former headquarters of Metacom, or King Philip, a 17th-century Wampanoag sachem. When the Museum opened to the public, its collections focused on local archaeological materials, but soon expanded to include much of North America. Today, the Museum houses artifacts and treasures from the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
Throughout its history, the Museum has been a valuable resource for a broad audience, as well as for the Brown University community and for scholars of anthropology, archaeology, art, and history.
To learn more about the Museum's founder and its history, see Passionate Hobby, Rudolph Frederick Haffenreffer and the King Philip Museum, edited by Shepard Krech III (Bristol, RI: Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, 1994)..