As a teaching museum, the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology provides opportunities for faculty and students to work with collections and the public, teaching through objects and programs in classrooms, in the gallery in Manning Hall, and at the Collections Research Center. The Museum's Collections and Research Center and offices are located in Bristol, RI. The Museum exhibitions are located at Manning Hall on the Brown University campus in Providence, RI.
The Museum originated with the private collection of Rudolf F. Haffenreffer, founder of the King Philip Museum in the early 20th century. This museum was located on the Mount Hope Grant in Bristol RI, the former headquarters of Metacom, or King Philip, a 17th-century Wampanoag sachem. The Museum became part of Brown University in 1955 and opened its gallery on the Brown campus in 2006.
The Museum's holdings total approximately one million items. While strongest in Native North American materials, the museum also contains significant material from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The Haffenreffer Museum Research Collections Center's photographic archive, in addition to collection record shots, contains photographs from the founder's archives, the Spinden collection of images of Central and South America, and field photographs that accompanied collections.