Glenna Nielsen-Grimm

Anthropology Collections Manager

Areas of Expertise:

  • Collections Management of over 900,000 Objects
  • Artifact Conservation and Care
  • Archaeology of the Mesoamerican Region, Northern Mexico
  • Southwest Archaeology
  • Bronze Age Middle East - Development of States and Trade 



In 2008, Glenna Nielsen-Grimm joined the staff as the anthropology collections manager and is responsible for the care of over 900,000 objects that date as early as 10,300 BP and represent North America, South America, Mesoamerica, Pacific Islands, Middle East, Great Basin and Northern Colorado Plateau. As the collections manager, she assesses conditions of objects and implements conservation procedures, handles research and writes grants, and helped manage the comprehensive plan to inventory, prepare, and move the Anthropology collection to the new Rio Tinto museum building.

Her research interests are both regional and global. Her current research centers on prehistoric Southwest trade, including trade with Mesoamerica and Western Mexico. She continues her interest in pottery, Kachina ideology and figurines of the Southwest, West and Northern Mexico. She also continues to explore evidence of influence and interaction between the U.S. Southwest and Mesoamerica.

Nielsen-Grimm has spent over 30 years doing archaeology field research in Utah, American Southwest, Guatemala, Mexico and the Middle East.  Her research includes identifying unique tomb and temple architecture in the Middle East, and has participated in museum conservation projects in Surla.  She continues her interest in Preclassic Maya villages that participated in trade with coastal and lowland civilizations in Guatemala and Mexico that date back 4,000 years. Her interest is in the ceramics as well as other cultural items that help to identify outside influence on traditional prehistoric cultures.  This in turn helps to identify possible trade routes, roads, and early village sites. She presently serves as consultant to the Archaeology Research Institute for Mesoamerican Archaeology, a foundation with current permits to survey and excavate sites in Salama Valley, Guatemala. Nielsen-Grimm has three publications pending on her current research, has edited three recent publications, and has published over 35 articles.

Prior to joining the Natural History Museum of Utah, Nielsen-Grimm was curator of collections with the Museum of Peoples and Cultures at Brigham Young University (BYU), Provo, Utah, where she was a part-time faculty instructor in the Department of Anthropology from 1999 to 2008. She is active in many professional organizations, including Society for American Archaeology, Utah Museum Association, Western Museum Association, American Association of Museums and Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections.

Nielsen-Grimm received her Ph.D. in 1990 from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Utah.  She received an M.A. in Prehistoric Archaeology, minoring in Secondary Education, and a B.S./B.A with a double major in Social Anthropology and Archaeology from Brigham Young University.