Ethnic Art Collections in the U.S.


Museums are listed by state

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Birmingham Museum of Art
The African collection at the Birmingham Museum of Art consists of about 1,600 objects. Africa is a continent of enormous diversity, with a landmass of almost twelve million square miles, and topography ranging from desert to snow-capped mountains. The continent is home to over fifty countries, and hundreds of ethnic groups, cultures, languages, religions, and traditions. African art, in its many forms and functions, embodies this diversity. The Museum has sought to build a collection that represents all of the major regions of Africa, as well as reflecting ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity within those regions across time. The collection includes masks, figure sculpture, textiles, ceramics, household and ritual objects, jewelry, musical instruments, currencies, furniture, clothing, and costume.


Arizona State University – Innovation Gallery– Tempe
Draws from the vast archaeological, ethnographic and scientific collections maintained by the university or provided by community partners

Heard Museum of Anthropology and Primitive Art -Phoenix
The Heard Museum art collection concentrates on the lives of Native peoples and consists of more than 40,000 objects. The two focal areas of the collection are comprehensive cultural collections from the Greater Southwest and contemporary native fine art from North America. Key collections include Hopi katsina dolls; Navajo and Zuni jewelry, Navajo textiles, Southwestern ceramics from prehistory to the present and baskets from the Southwest, California, the Great Basin and the Northwest. Pinterest


Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California – Berkeley
The collections of the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology are vast and diverse. The total number of objects in the collection is approximately 2.5 million, the largest of which are the California collections.
The Online Collections database of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology contains records for over 210,000 objects from our collections. Pinterest

Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology – Chico

UC Davis Department of Anthropology Museum
Clinton Hart Merriam Basketry Collection – collected in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, showcase ethnographic basketry traditions from California and the American West.
Canadian Inuit Art -collected from Nunavut, Canada in 1969, these featured works of Inuit art include stoneblock print, soapstone carving, antler carving, and leatherwork.
Peruvian Ceramics- represent prehistoric ceramic traditions of coastal Peru, including the Moche, Lambeyque, Chimu, Chancay, and Wari cultures.
Edward Nagel Ethnographic Art Collection of ethnographic art collected from Africa, India, and China.

Los Angeles County Museum
Among the museum’s strengths are its holdings of Asian art, pre-Columbian masterpieces. Pinterest

Fowler Museum of Cultural History, UCLA

The Fowler Museum at UCLA explores global arts and cultures with an emphasis on works from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas—past and present. Pinterest

Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection, Los Angeles
The Southwest Museum of the American Indian, the oldest museum in Los Angeles, was founded by Charles Fletcher Lummis. Lummis was the first city editor for the Los Angeles Times. He was also a photographer, amateur anthropologist, and prolific historian of the Southwestern United States who helped popularize the idea of Los Angeles as a multicultural city. In 2003 the Southwest Museum merged with the Museum of the American West to become part of the Autry National Center.

The Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection includes a 238,000-piece collection of Native American art and artifacts that is one of the most significant and representative of its kind in the United States, second only to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. Composed of 14,000 baskets, 10,000 ceramic items, 6,300 textiles and weavings, and more than 1,100 pieces of jewelry, the Southwest Museum Collection represents Indigenous peoples from Alaska to South America, with an emphasis on cultures from California and the Southwestern United States. Pinterest


USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena

More than 15,000 objects, including rare and representative examples of art and ethnographic objects from Asia and the Pacific Islands, spanning more than five thousand years. Pinterest

Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum, Long Beach

Our permanent collection has grown to now represent more than 1,000 works of art and artifacts from Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Hawaii, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Northern Marianas Islands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.  The collection includes objects of art in organization of space, carving traditions, fiber and textile arts, body ornamentation and oral/musical/movement arts.  The largest part of the collection was donated by the museum’s founder the late Dr. Robert Gumbiner. One of the significant ways you can support PIEAM is by helping us expand the museum’s collection. Please send inquiries and include an image, dimension and as much factual information. Pinterest

San Diego Museum of Art

The Museum has recently expanded its holdings in the art of African, Pacific, and Native American cultures through the transfer of more than 900 pieces from the Sana Art Foundation. Ranging from a 19th century Hawaiian ivory pendant necklace, to Native American woven basketry, from rare Polynesian barkcloths or tapa, to a diverse collection of African art, the Sana Collection furthers the Museum’s mission to present its audiences with art from across the centuries and around the globe. As the Sana Collection is catalogued and accessioned, the Museum’s display of the Arts of Africa, the Pacific, and the Native Americas will continue to expand.

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; and costumes and textiles representing a wide variety of Eastern and Western traditions. Pinterest

Bowers Museum – Santa Ana
The Bowers Museum holds in its collection more than 120,000 works of art. These works were donated from 1935 to the present and represent many regions and cultures of the world. The museum’s largest collections are in the areas of Native American art, Pre-Columbian art, Asian art, art of the Pacific, and art of Africa. Pinterest

Global Museum – San Francisco State University
Permanent collections from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas

University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara
African art

Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University 
Asia, Africa, Oceania, Native Americas

The Cantor Arts Center’s African art collection includes works from across the continent, dating from the pre-dynastic periods of ancient Egypt to the present day. Of the nearly 2500 objects in the African collection, about 1300 works originate from ancient Egyptian and Coptic traditions. The remaining works, about 1200, were made in diverse sub-Saharan cultures during the late 19th to the mid 20th centuries.

The Cantor’s sub-Saharan collection is especially strong in figurative arts made mostly by western and central African artists. Also represented are utilitarian objects and body adornment made by East African artists, as well as a large selection of metal, leather, and basketry made by the contemporary Tuareg artists of Niger. Acquisitions of works by Moroccan artist Lalla Essaydi and Kenyan artist Magdalene Odundo heralded a new direction in the Cantor’s collection development, which now includes contemporary works by artists from Africa and its diasporas who work in an international style.

The permanent display of African art is divided into three chronological sections. In the first gallery, visitors encounter contemporary works made in a variety of media from the 1950s to the present, by artists living in Africa and the Diaspora. The next space presents African arts from the 16th to the mid-20th century. The final gallery features the oldest African arts in museum collections, ranging from pre-dynastic Egypt to 15th-century sub-Saharan cultures. The earliest antiquities on view, pottery from approximately 4000–3100 BCE, predate the emergence of a single powerful leader and the unification of Egypt under the Pharaohs. Each section is arranged thematically to correlate objects throughout the ancient, historic, and contemporary sections of the reinstallation.

The Center has a collection of nearly 1500 objects from a diverse range of Native cultures of North, Central, and South America dating from around 1200 BCE to the present. The collection includes about 180 works created before European contact in the 15th century, such as fine examples of ceramics from the Mimbres, Anasazi, and Hopewell cultures of the United States as well as the Casas Grandes, Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit, and Veracruz cultures of Mexico. Ceramics from the Maya, Veraguas, and Nicoya cultures represent Mesoamerican arts, while ceramic and metal arts from the Chancay, Nazca, and Chimú cultures of Peru represent a small sampling of examples from ancient South American cultures. The collection of Native arts created after 1500 CE consists primarily of works produced by artists from North American cultures and includes approximately 500 baskets from Native California cultures, with the remainder of the collection comprised of wood and stone carvings from the Pacific Northwest coast; Plains bead and leatherwork; and Pueblo ceramics and Navajo textiles from the Southwest.

Two galleries feature about 215 works by Native American artists and include a selection of California basketry; Haida argillite stone carvings; a fine Tlingit clan hat; a monumental installation of house posts and lintel by contemporary Kwakwaka’wakw artist Calvin Hunt; dance regalia by contemporary Kwakwaka’wakw artist Maxine Matilpi; and a selection of ceramic vessels and figures that illustrate the continuity and change in Native American arts from the past to the present.

Oceania encompasses about 25,000 islands clustered in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. The collection features 300 art objects from diverse cultures in these regions.  An additional 150 Indonesian textiles are part of the Cantor Arts Center’s holdings. Highlights of the collection, on display in the gallery, include a pair of friezes from a Batak granary (sopo), elaborately carved Batak staffs, and an ancestral commemorative horse and rider figure (jara heda) from Flores. Other cultures represented by sculpture include the Dayak of West Kalimantan, the Toraja of Sulawesi, and the island of Nias. Islands of Southeast Asia include the Philippines, with a representative figure from the Ifugao people of the northern highlands of Luzon.

A section of the gallery is devoted to the diverse cultures of the South Pacific, with representative arts from the Melanesian island nations of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia, as well as the Polynesian cultures of the Maori, Easter Island, and Hawaii. The collection includes a few works in shell from Micronesia.

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Denver Art Museum
Daniel Yohannes Family African Gallery, Level 4, Hamilton Building
 This collection of more than 1,000 objects tells the stories of Africa from many perspectives. Artworks in the gallery are selected to represent the diversity of creativity in Africa, a continent containing thousands of art-producing societies. The gallery tells the stories of individual artists including Olowe Ise and Fernando Alvim, who are the visual chroniclers of their times.
 The display also balances works by women artists—including the Akire shrine painters—with those made by men. Through the works of women artists, the gallery explores questions of gender, rituals, and the importance of group creativity in African art. Older works in the collection are juxtaposed with new works by contemporary African artists to highlight cultural continuities, international influences, and variety of themes. Interactive programs demonstrate the link among visual, musical and performance arts in Africa. Pinterest

University of Denver Museum of Anthropology
Home to more than 100,000 unique ethnographic and archaeological artifacts, DUMA’s collections include Southwestern pottery, African and Native American textiles, masks from around the world, and remarkably well-preserved yucca fiber and animal hide footwear from cave sites in Colorado.


Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, New Haven

The holding in the Oceanic collections are the largest systematically acquired ethnographic collections in the Division of Anthropology. Most of this material was collected by Yale faculty and graduate students conducting research in New Guinea, the Phillippines, Malaysia and the Solomon Islands. Other donations of materials from Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia include over 100 tapa cloth objects, as well as a wide array of decorative and utilitarian artifacts.


Yale University Art Gallery – New Haven
The Yale University Art Gallery’s collection of art from Africa south of the Sahara had its beginnings with gifts of several textiles in 1937, and it now numbers some 1,800 objects in wood, metal, ivory, ceramic, and other materials. Major milestones in forming the collection occurred in 1954 with the acquisition of the Linton Collection of African Art, purchased for the Gallery by Mr. and Mrs. James M. Osborn, and in 2004 with the gift of the collection of nearly six hundred African objects from Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933. Concurrent with the 2004 gift, Mr. Benenson endowed the new position of the Frances and Benjamin Benenson Foundation Curator of African Art, and the Department of African Art at the Yale University Art Gallery was born. In 2010 the museum received a collection of approximately two hundred African antiquities from SusAnna and Joel B. Grae.
 The collection is strongest in ritual figures and masks from West and Central Africa, and terracotta antiquities from the Sahel region. There are also several specialized collections, such as Christian crosses from Ethiopia and miniature masks from Liberia. Several ancient African civilizations are represented, including the Djenne, Nok, Bura, Sokoto, Koma, Sapi, and Benin. Some of the outstanding objects in the collection include: from the Sahel area, a Bamana wooden equestrian figure and a Nok male figure with arms upraised; from the Upper Guinea Coast, a Senufo figurative rhythm pounder and a Temne bush cow mask; from the Lower Guinea Coast, an elaborate Ejagham skin-covered headdress and a Fante appliquéd banner; from Central Africa, a Luba female figure with bowl and a Fang female reliquary figure; and from southern Africa, an elegant Zulu stool.
 The permanent-collection galleries present approximately forty African antiquities from throughout West Africa, a display of immense ceramic vessels from across the continent, a number of musical instruments, ritual dance costumes, silver jewelry from the Sahel, and masks and figures from hundreds of African cultures.
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 The Gallery has recently acquired a splendid group of objects from southern Sierra Leone, originating from the sacred female institutions for healing and initiation among the Mende and other peoples. A selection of these objects is now on view in the Laura and James J. Ross Gallery of African Art, including two women’s helmet masks from a women’s institution known as Bondo or Sande and a superb female figure representing the institution’s initiated members. In researching the objects for display, new discoveries have been made. One of the Gallery’s female figures, for example, once belonged to former President William Tolbert, Jr., of Liberia, and one of the female helmet masks was pictured in performance in 1901. Another female helmet mask has at least 12 “sisters” carved by the same artist, who has been designated “The Master of the Rainbow Eyes.” Visitors can look forward to learning more about this remarkable artist in an article in the forthcoming 2014 volume of the Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin. – See more 


Washington, DC
National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution

Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution


Boca Raton Museum of Art

 West African Tribal Art and Oceanic Art
The African art collection, which numbers more than 300 objects, is among the more important collections of African art in the state, representing all major art-producing regions of sub-Saharan Africa, including artworks from Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Zaire. The collection comprises gifts acquired over 20 years from numerous collectors,including 60 pieces from the Arthur Steinman Collection, Boca Raton, and continuing gifts from collectors throughout the United States.

The collection is permanently displayed in the Museum’s ethnographic galleries, located on the second floor of the Museum. The strength of the collection is in West African ritual masks and figures, accoutrements of leadership, ritual objects, clothing and textiles, stools and other utilitarian objects with most of the collection dating from within the last 100 years. Works are displayed in ceiling-to-floor built in glass vitrines custom-made by Glasbau Hahn in Germany, as well as custom designed freestanding vitrines for optimal viewing. Didactic panels, text labels, maps, and gallery guide handouts enhance the learning experience. The Museum’s African holdings provide strong teaching exhibitions for school groups grade 8-12, introducing systems of iconography, religious, social and political traditions.

Jean and David Colker Collection
Pre-Columbian Art

One of the Museum’s collection strengths is the stellar assemblage of more than 180 Pre-Columbian works from the collection of Jean and David Colker of south Florida. Formerly known as the ACNA Foundation Collection, and exhibited nationally as part of the National Association of Private Art Foundations Collections, the Colker collection is dated from as early as the pre-Classic period, 2000 -250 B.C.E. to the Classic period, 200 to 900 C.E, and the post-Classic period, from 900 to 1500 C.E. The collection’s scope includes polychrome ceremonial pottery vessels, finely modeled clay tomb figures, animal and human effigies, and utilitarian and ritual objects representing cultural and artistic production throughout Mesoamerica (the Mexican, Maya and Central American peoples) and more specifically: west Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, the Yucatán Peninsula and Honduras. The collection is distinguished by seven very rare and spectacular large terra cotta deity tomb figures and Maya funerary incensario urns of exceptional quality.

The collection’s installation is designed to reflect the Colkers’ wishes that the living art of these pre-Colombian cultures be as accessible to the public as possible. These works form a cohesive educational narrative embracing the rich and complex history of American Indian art from the Americas between 1500 B.C.E. to 1500 C.E. The works are dramatically displayed within minimal state-of-the-art Glasbau Hahn Vitrines custom-made in Germany for the highest standard of viewing, conservation and preservation. Pinterest

Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art – Gainesville
* African Collection
Wood Sculptures, Textiles, Ceramics, Leatherwork, Beadwork, Metalwork and Paintings
Objects range from 5th century BCE to the 21st century.
The Harn Museum’s African Collection includes works that illuminate the diversity and historical depth of Sub-Saharan African art. The Harn collection is distinctive in the strength of its holdings that include a broad range of geographic regions, media and historical periods, ranging from the 5th century BCE to the 21st century.

* Asian Collection
Ceramics, Jades, Metalwork, Stone Sculptures, Paintings and Prints
Objects range from the Neolithic period to cutting-edge contemporary art.
With more than 2,000 works, the Harn’s Asian art collection covers a vast geographic distribution area, from central Asia in the west to Japan in the east, and from China in the north to the southernmost points of India and Southeast Asia.

* Ancient American, Oceanic

Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami
The Lowe Art Museum is the largest collecting art museum in the South Florida region, and one of the few in Florida with a far-ranging general collection. From its inception in the 1950s, the collection has developed a diverse collection capable of serving the educational and cultural needs of the University of Miami and the greater South Florida community. The Lowe’s permanent collection takes on added significance as a reflection of Miami’s multicultural population, and as a tool to support and help bridge cultural gaps in our communities. The Lowe maintains 11 collecting departments.

The Lowe Art Museum’s collections are accessible online. Please note that we are constantly updating catalog information, and new records are being added as they are updated.

Funding for the Lowe’s online collection database is made possible through the generous support of Beaux Arts of the Lowe Art Museum and The Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
 Art of Africa
Works from all regions of the African continent, with an emphasis on sub-Saharan regions, including architectural elements, ceremonial and ritual objects, costumes, textiles, and sculpture dating from ca. 500 BCE to the present.
 Art of the Ancient Americas
Architectural elements, pottery, textiles, and archaeological objects of native North, Central, and South America dating from 2500 BCE to the period of European contact beginning in 1492. Works produced after 1492 are considered art of the Native Americas.
 Art of Asia
Pottery, metalwork, sculpture, costumes and textiles, and architectural elements dating from the Neolithic period through the present from China, Japan, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia.
 Art of the Caribbean

Landscape, narrative, and portrait paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and photographs from the Caribbean Basin (including Cuba) dating from the 18th century to the present.

 Art of Central and South America
Landscape, narrative, and portrait paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and photographs from Central and South America dating from the 18th century to the present.

 Art of the Native Americas
Pottery, basketry, sculpture, costumes, and textiles of native North, Central, and South America, including Spanish Colonial art produced by native artists, from the post-European contact period starting in 1492 through the present. Works produced before 1492 are considered art of the Ancient Americas.

 Art of North America
Landscape, narrative, and portrait paintings, sculpture, works on paper, and photographs from the United States and Canada dating from the 18th century to the present.

 Art of the Pacific Islands
Ceremonial objects of the cultures of the Pacific, currently with an emphasis on the islands of Melanesia, dating from the 19th and 20th centuries. 


Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University – Atlanta
From the ancient to the modern world, the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University brings to the Atlanta community priceless treasures mapping an extraordinary breadth of ancient cultures, customs, and legacies. Some 17,000 artifacts from ancient Egypt, the Near East, Greece, Rome, the Americas, Asia, and Africa, as well as works on paper from the Renaissance to the present day, provide visitors with a glimpse into the art and history of world cultures. Located at the heart of Emory University’s Atlanta campus and exhibited in the landmark building designed by noted architect Michael Graves, these works of art and artifacts reveal the Carlos Museum’s meticulous care for the legacy of ancient civilizations and the learning opportunities innate in each artifact. A 1985 interior renovation, along with a 35,000-square-foot expansion in 1993 made the in-depth display of the museum’s permanent collections possible, and transformed the Carlos Museum into a destination for special exhibitions. From locally organized exhibitions to those from nationally and internationally celebrated institutions, including the Louvre, British Museum, and Israel Museum, the Carlos Museum serves as the South’s premier museum of ancient art.


High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

African Art

With a curatorial department devoted solely to African art since 2001, and a curatorial position endowed by Fred and Rita Richman, the High’s collection has grown to encompass the dynamic diversity of African art forms from ancient to contemporary. The heart of the collection are sculptures from west and central Africa created between 1850 and 1950, including a Baga sculpture from Guinea gifted in 1953 by Helena Rubenstein. Other significant gifts include more than 450 works from Fred and Rita Richman that form the core of the African collection. Major gifts from Dr. Bernard and Patricia Wagner starting in 2005 spotlight Yoruba art, including masks, figurative sculpture, beadwork, metalwork and ceramic arts.



Bishop Museum, Honolulu

Over the past 120 years, the Museum’s world renowned scientists have acquired 24.7 million items telling the full story of Hawai‘i and the Pacific. These items include over 1.3 million cultural artifacts representing Native Hawaiian, Pacific Island, and Hawai‘i immigrant life deriving from the museum’s rich legacy of research in Hawai‘i and the Pacific. They also include more than 115,000 historical publications, 1 million historical photographs, films, works of art, audio recordings and manuscripts.

Hawaiian Hall
The three floors of Hawaiian Hall take visitors on a journey through the different realms of Hawai‘i.

The first floor is the realm of Kai Ākea which represents the Hawaiian gods, legends, beliefs, and the world of pre-contact Hawai‘i.

The second floor, Wao Kanaka, represents the realm where people live and work; focusing on the importance of the land and nature in daily life.

The third floor, Wao Lani, is the realm inhabited by the gods; here, visitors will learn about the ali‘i and key moments in Hawaiian history.

Pacific Hall
Explore Moananuiākea, the wide expanse of Oceania, in Pacific Hall’s newly renovated two-story gallery.

Encounter the family of the Pacific on the first floor, which is filled with cultural treasures – model canoes, woven mats, contemporary artwork, and videos of Pacific scholars.

On the second floor, learn about the origins and migrations of Pacific peoples through the fields of archaeology, oral traditions, and linguistics.

Learn how the peoples of Oceania are diverse, yet deeply connected.

The Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kāhili Room honors cherished ali‘i and displays the precious Kāhili (feather standards) associated with them.

On display here are portraits of the Hawaiian Monarchy and some of their personal effects. Pinterest



Honolulu Academy of Arts
Asian, Arts of Hawaii

From an initial gift of 4,500 works of art from Mrs. Charles Montague Cooke in 1927, the Honolulu Museum of Art’s permanent collection has grown to more than 50,000 objects. The collection is at the heart of the museum’s mission to collect, preserve, interpret, and teach the visual arts for future generations. It represents all the major cultures of Hawai‘i and spans 5,000 years, from ancient times to today.


Field Museum of Natural History – Chicago
A. B. Lewis Collection
A.B. Lewis was born in Clifton, Ohio in 1867 and went to graduate school at Columbia University where he studied under Franz Boas. In 1907 George Dorsey recruited and hired Lewis to work at the Field Museum. A.B. Lewis served as Assistant Curator of African and Melanesian Ethnology between 1908 and 1935 and as Curator of Melanesian ethnology from 1936 until his death in 1940.

A. W. F. Fuller Collection
In 1958 The Field Museum purchased one of the most extensive and valuable collections of Pacific artifacts ever assembled; Captain A.W.F.

Africa Collections
The Museum’s collection of material culture from the continent of Africa, acquired through donations, museum sponsored expeditions, purchases, and exchanges with other museums, includes over 173,000 objects and continues to be an important resource for knowledge, ongoing research, and loan and exhibition. The African collections are comprised of nearly 30,000 ethnographic and approximately 143,500 archaeological objects. Africa’s complex art, technology, architecture, and political systems are documented both by the Museum’s archaeological assemblages and varied historical

Andean Clays
The pre-Hispanic states of Andean South America are famous for their polychrome ceramics. They are recovered during archaeological excavations of burials, houses, palaces and temples. Ceramic vessels were used for many functions, including cooking, storage and in ritual events. In order to understand not only what ceramic vessels were used for but also how they were made, Field Museum scientists have been examining pottery production in the ancient Andes by investigating where people procured the raw clays used to make ceramic vessels.

Asian Textile Collections
Seemingly fragile, textiles can be an enduring link to vanished cultures, as well as a fascinating cross section of the aesthetic sensibilities of far-flung contemporary peoples. Among the five most distinctive collections in the United States, The Field Museum’s holdings of Asian textiles include nineteenth and twentieth century pieces from India, Bhutan, Central Asia, China, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Australian Collection
The Australian collection, numbering over 2,200 objects, includes stone tools, boomerangs, shields, clubs, spears, spear throwers, ornaments, and ceremonial objects. While the first objects in the collection were received from the W.C.E.Commission of New South Wales, A.W.F.

Aztec, Inca and Maya Collections
The Museum is rich in collections from three of the ancient Middle and South American cultures whose conflicts with European societies were among the most dramatic and far-reaching. These collections are particularly strong in ceramics: Aztec pottery from Late Post-Classic Mexico (ca. A.D. 1450-1521)–one of the finest collections of Aztec ceramics outside Mexico. Through analysis of clay samples from a series of vessels, a Museum research associate uncovered pathways of economic exchange during this period on the brink of European contact.

Berthold Laufer Collections
Berthold Laufer (1874-1934), curator of Asian Anthropology from 1908 to 1934, was a pioneer in the study of Asian cultures. With a doctorate in oriental languages from the University of Leipzig, Laufer was a sinologist who was fluent in more than a dozen languages, many of which were non Indo-Eurpoean. Polymath and polyglot, his interests seemed unbounded and his linguistic skills unequaled.

Boone Collection
The Boone Collection consists of over 3,500 East Asian artifacts gathered by Commander Gilbert E. Boone and his wife Katharine Phelps Boone. The Boones acquired most of these objects in the late 1950s, during a three-year tour of duty in Japan. Consequently, the objects are predominantly Japanese (accounting for over 50% of The Field Museum’s Japanese collection), but a significant number are also from China and Korea.

Brazil Collections
Material records of pre-contact cultures include polychrome pottery excavated from artificial earth mounds on Marajó Island, at the mouth of the Amazon. These well-preserved vessels hint at Brazilian lifeways over a 700-year span in the first millennium A.D.

Coastal Peru Collection
Material records of pre-contact cultures include ceramics and textiles from settlements thriving between 1000 B.C. and A.D. 1300 on the Peruvian coast. These pieces came to light through the excavations of Field Museum Curators George Dorsey in the 1890’s and Donald Collier in the 1940’s and 50’s as well as University of California anthropologist Alfred Kroeber in the 1920s.

Contemporary Pacific Collections
While the acquisition of new collections for the Museum still involves obtaining actual objects, our collecting also involves much more than just this. It includes talking and listening to the people who made and used the objects being acquired to see if we can develop relationships with them that, at least in so

Early Pacific Collections
When the World’s Columbian Exposition ended at the end of October 1893, the newly founded Museum became the recipient of the majority of the anthropological and natural history collections that had been assembled. In addition to the numerous donations of collections, many other valuable collections were purchased from both domestic and foreign exhibitors. The anthropological collections originating from the World’s Fair numbered some 50,000 specimens of which between three and four thousand objects formed the Museum’s original collect

Latin American Textile Collections
The Museums’s Latin American collections include fine textiles from highland Peru and Bolivia and from Guatemala. Dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Andean collection captures a weaving heritage altered by the influence of industrial dyes and tourism on local communities. The diverse Guatemalan pieces shed light on social affiliation (as expressed through dress) and on the artistic vision of women.

Melanesian Collections
The Melanesian collections, numbering over 38,000 ethnographic objects, represent one of the world’s finest collections of Pacific material culture ever assembled. Originating mostly during the first two decades of the 20th century, most of lowland and coastal New Guinea as well as the islands of the Bismarck Archipelago (New Britain, New Ireland, and the Admiralty Islands), the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia are represented.

Mesoamerica and Central America Collections
The Field Museum’s Mesoamerican and Central American collections include a wide-range of archaeological and ethnographic pieces, many of the highest exhibition quality. This collection also includes a number of collections of signifcant research value, including those from scientific excavations made by J. Eric Thompson, and the research collections gathered by several significant cultural anthropologists.

Micronesian Collections
The Micronesian collections number nearly 16,000 specimens. Alexander Spoehr, Curator of Oceanic archaeology and ethnology between 1940 and 1952, performed fieldwork immediately after World War II in the Marshall Islands and Marianas Islands and collected both ethnological and archaeological material for the Museum. Roland W.

Montez Collection
The Department of Anthropology holds an exceptional collection of ancient Peruvian objects purchased in the 19th century from a private Peruvian collector. This collection consists of approximately 1,200 objects, of which the vast majority are ceramic vessels from the Inca Period. Several important pieces have previously been loaned to the Fowler Museum, University of California, Los Angeles.

New Guinean Clays
Potting was first introduced to Papua New Guinea over two thousand years ago, and remains a flourishing craft there even today. Potters on the Sepik coast of northern Papua New Guinea utilize complex paste recipes to produce their final finished ceramics, often mixing several types of clays and other materials such as beach sands (referred to as “temper”) to obtain exactly the consistency and working properties that they favor. During field work on the Sepik coast between 1990 and 1997, Field Museum curator John Terrell and his colleagues collected clays and tempering materials

North America Collections
Since its founding, The Field Museum has devoted considerable attention to the Native peoples of North America. The result is a series of collections of striking depth, strong in recent history and contemporary culture. Staff collaborate actively with Native American groups, who come regularly to visit and study the collections of their nations.

Paul S Martin Collection
The Field Museum of Natural History has an extensive collection of valuable archaeological materials from the southwestern United States, most often referred to as the “Paul S. Martin Collection.” These materials derive from work conducted between 1930 and the early 1970s, when Paul Martin was involved in single-season and multi-season excavations at 69 sites; six major surveys were also undertaken during this period.

Photo Archives – Africa Collection
The Field Museum contains one of the finest collections of Cameroon artifacts from the West African grassfields. In the 1920’s, Jan Kleykamp, representing the J .F. G. Umlauff Company in Hamburg, sold a collection of artifacts to the Field Museum. The purchase included 332 ethnological photographs taken in 1912 attributed to a man named Schroeder. The Umlauff collection of images illustrate the use and social context of the artifacts.

Photo Archives – Anthropology Collection
Javanese masks from the Anthropology Department’s collections. The Photo Archives has an extensive collection of anthropological images from the past and present.

Photo Archives – Expedition Collection
In the early 1900’s, the four scientific departments collected in North, Central and South America, and Africa. Artifacts and natural science materials were collected, but photographs made on the trips would likely include scenery, architecture and people.

Photo Archives – Native American Collection
Between 1895 and 1910, the Museum collected most of its Native American ethnological and archaeological material to augment the collections obtained from the World’s Columbian Exposition. Between 1897 and 1898, free-lance photographer Edward Allen and Museum curator George Dorsey documented the daily activities, ceremonies and peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast, and the plains, plateau and desert regions of the western United States.

Photo Archives – Philippines Collections
Between 1908-1910, Museum curator Fay-Cooper Cole visited the Philippine Islands and Indonesia and produced over 400 photographs while visiting the areas. Through Edward Ayer and the Newberry Library in Chicago, the Field Museum made copies of the Newberry’s collection of Dean C. Worcester’s collection of photographs. Over 2,000 copy negatives were made of the photographs made by Worcester and by his government photographers.

Polynesian Collections
The Polynesian collections number nearly 8,000 objects and represent almost every island group in the region. The Museum received approximately 200 items from the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 and in 1897 added a 113 piece collection from Gustavus Goward from Samoa and a 300 piece collection from William Preston Harrison representing the Solomon Islands and Polynesia. In 1898 the Museum added W.T. Schuster Collection

The Carl Schuster collection of Chinese textiles is unique and by far the largest and most exclusive collection of Chinese folk embroidery in the world, including China. Distinct from multicolored and multi-technique silk or cotton embroideries from other parts of China, the Western and Southwestern folk embroideries collected by Schuster are mainly cross stitches in cotton thread on cotton cloth with combinations of either blue on white or white on blue.

Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
 Art of Africa, Americas, Asia

Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
 The Kieffer-Lopez Collectionof Ethnographic Textiles and Artifacts
 The Crocker Land Expedition Collection from the Arctic
 The Charles Bur Harper Collection of Artifacts from the Philippines
 The Whitten Collection of Canelos Quichua Cultural Artifacts
 The Reginald and Gladys Laubin Reflecting American Indian Cultures
 The Bolian Tukuna Bark Cloth Collection of Southeastern Colombia
 The Faletti Collection of West African Cultural Artifacts
 The Carozzi Collection of African and South American Cultural Artifacts


Indiana University Art Museum
 Central & West African, Polynesia, Melanesia, Middle America, South America, Native America
 Raymond and Laura Wielgus began acquiring art from Africa, the South Pacific, and the Americas in the 1950s, and over the next twenty years they assembled one of the premier private collections in the United States. Native Midwesterners, the Wielguses spent their professional lives in Chicago, where Laura was a pediatric nurse and nursing instructor and Raymond founded Wielgus Product Models, a business producing prototype models for design organizations and industry.
 They retired to Tucson in 1970, but, while still in Chicago, they formed a friendship with Roy Sieber, who taught African art history at Indiana University for many years. That relationship sparked an interest in the IU Art Museum, and, in 1990, the Wielguses committed their collection and financial resources to the museum. In recognition of this extraordinary generosity, the museum named the gallery housing its collection of the arts of Africa, the South Pacific, and the Americas in their honor.
 Laura died in 2003, but Raymond remained actively engaged with private collectors, museums, and dealers, who called upon his legendary connoisseurship skills and expertise until his death in 2010. With their passing, the commitment they made twenty years ago has been fulfilled through a bequest that includes not only their entire collection of African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian, and Native American artworks and reference books, but also the funds to maintain and enhance their legacy. Thanks to the generosity and foresight of longtime museum friends Raymond and Laura Wielgus, one of the IU Art Museum’s most outstanding collections will grow even stronger.

Indianapolis Museum of Art
African Art
Visitors can see and enjoy a collection that represents all major regions of the continent, including Northern, Eastern, Central, Southern and Western Africa.
Ancient Art of the Americas
Most of the major ancient Mesoamerican cultures are represented in the Museum’s collections of Ancient Art of the Americas on the first floor of the Krannert Pavilion, including the Olmec and other civilizations of the Gulf Coast of Mexico, the Colima, and the Maya.
Asian Art
More than 400 works of art in the gallery provide a panorama of more than 4,000 years of Asian art from China, Japan, Korea, India, Tibet, and West and Southeast Asia.
Native American Art
Most of the major ancient Mesoamerican cultures are represented in the Museum’s collections of the Native art of the Americas, including the Olmec and other civilizations of the Gulf Coast of Mexico, the Colima and the Maya.
Oceanic Art
More than 100 examples of South Pacific Art—from Melanesia, Polynesia, Micronesia and Indonesia—are in the Museum’s collection.
Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame – South Bend
 African, Mesoamerican, Native American


University of Iowa Museum of Art – Iowa City
African Art
The arts of the African continent combine beauty of form with rich cultural significance that can be appreciated by visitors of all ages. These brilliantly created objects express fundamental cultural beliefs and provide powerful statements about the artists and societies who create them. The UIMA holds one of the country’s finest and most well-respected collections of African art, which is supplemented in the gallery by vivid textual and video displays. The African collection presents a well-rounded view of the artistic diversity found throughout the continent. In addition to world-renowned pieces from cultures in West and Central Africa, visitors will find works from all regions of the African continent in a wide range of media including figural sculpture, textiles, masks, ceramics, beadwork and metalwork.

Arts of the Ancient Americas and Native America
The ancient cultures of Central and South America produced extraordinary works of ceramic sculpture that depict both ritual practices and aspects of daily life. Objects in the collection include human figures depicted in their finery, animals fashioned into containers and whistles, stone markers used in ceremonial ball games, jewelry made of jade and gold, and elaborately painted vessels.

The UIMA’s collection is focused on the ceramic sculpture of ancient West Mexico, which is famed for its rich stylistic variety. The collection also contains objects from other ancient Mexican cultures, including brightly painted Mayan ceramics, stone figures from Guerrero, and delicately worked figures from Teotiuacan and Tlatilco. Other regions are represented as well, including the great textile traditions of ancient Peru and the jade and gold jewelry of Colombia.

The Luther College Fine Arts Collection, Decorah, IA

A significant number of pre-Columbian pottery pieces, both complete and reconstructed, from Central and South America.  These works came primarily from three sources.  Several pieces were collected during three January-Term courses to Panama led by Dean Schwarz in 1969, 1971, and 1971  A second group of Mexican objects came from the family of Helen Elaine Talle.  The estate of Marguerite Wildenhain donated the final grouping of 21 pre-Columbian objects from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.


Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum – Chanute
The Johnson Artifact Collection
Martin and Osa Johnson made two expeditions to the South Seas (1917 and 1919), two to Borneo (1920 and 1935-1936), and five extended trips to Africa (between 1921 and 1934). Their South Seas films gave them global fame, but their African expeditions gave them recognition as professional photographers, explorers, and conservationists.The Johnson Exhibition Gallery illustrates their lives and their accomplishments. Artifacts, photographs, and personal memorabilia are preserved for generations to come at our museum.

The Johnsons’ Core Photography & Related Photographic Collections
There is no question that the Johnsons’ greatest contribution consists of their photographic records of remote and little-known regions of the world in the early decades of the 20th century. Some of the Johnsons’ motion pictures today serve as the ultimate documentation of lifestyles and wildernesses that have long since vanished. The Johnsons’ record of cultures and customs that have ceased to exist will allow us to know these people’s way of life forever.

Similar collections of pioneering photographers are also housed permanently at our museum. Among them are the photographs, artifacts & archives of adventurer, journalist & author Carl Von Hoffman and Alpine climber and sports filmmaker Elizabeth Main Le Blond.
We would love to hear about new explorers and photographers you know whose collections would really feel at home in our museum. Call 620-431-2730 or email the museum to talk to the curator today! As a non-profit organization, we cannot afford to purchase artifacts, but donations are tax deductible!

West African & Ethnographic Collections
Ceremonial masks, carved figures, musical instruments, swords, jewelry and textiles from four regions of West Africa are permanently exhibited. Our galleries feature the art and artifacts of over thirty ethnic groups, and includes a dramatic life-size Tyi Wara Dance diorama. This collection is the finest of its kind in the Midwest.
In addition we have a strong collection of art and artifacts from other regions of Africa, as well as from locales such as British North Borneo and the south seas islands explored by Martin and Osa Johnson.
If you have collected ethnographic artifacts that you would like to donate, please call 620-431-2730 or email the museum to talk to the curator today. As a non-profit organization, we cannot afford to purchase artifacts, but donations are tax deductible!

Kauffman Museum – North Newton
Original People: The Cheyenne 


Amistad Research Center, Tulane University – New Orleans
Photographs, archives

New Orleans Museum of Art
 The New Orleans Museum of Art, the city’s oldest fine arts institution, has a magnificent permanent collection of almost 40,000 art objects. The collection, noted for its extraordinary strengths in French and American art, photography, glass, and African and Japanese works, continues to grow.
 NOMA has developed a unique Arts of the Americas collection, surveying the cultural heritage of North, Central and South America from the pre-Columbian period through the Spanish Colonial era. This collection is especially rich in objects from the great Mayan culture of Mexico and Central America, and in painting and sculpture from Cuzco, the fabulous Spanish capital of Peru



The Hudson Museum, University of Maine, Orono

World Cultures Gallery—the centerpiece of the Museum’s exhibitions—presents the richness and breadth of the Museum’s holdings. It features objects that have never been on public exhibition, and allows the Museum to exhibit a greater percentage of its holdings.

The gallery consists of eight large-scale display units, including one devoted exclusively to the William P. Palmer Collection III collection of Precolumbian artifacts. Each exhibit case focuses on a specific cultural theme universal to people around the world. Visitors will be able to compare and contrast how people from a variety of cultures are similar and how they are different; how they solve basic issues; and how their environment affects their solutions.

Themes featured in the gallery include ritual and belief, status and power, home and family, transportation, adornment, foodways, and objects made for others. For example, a case devoted to status and power displays Northwest Coast Chilkat robes and tunics; African stools, staffs, and ancestor figures; a Phase III Navajo Chief’s blanket and Southwestern jewelry; and Precolumbian pottery figurines of nobles, rulers and the elite.

From One Coast to Another:  Northwest Coast Art at the Hudson Museum

Among the holdings of the Hudson Museum is an extraordinary assemblage of Northwest Coast Art.  Key is the William P. Palmer III Collection of art from the Northwest Coast of the United States and Canada.  Although William P. Palmer III was best known as a collector of Mesoamerican artifacts, he assembled an extraordinary collection of Northwest Coast art dating from the early nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.

In addition to Northwest Coast holdings donated to the Hudson Museum by Palmer, the Hudson is also home to a variety of early ethnographic materials from the region that came from Smithsonian exploring expeditions, Mainers voyages to the Northwest Coast during the age of sail, and others who had connections to that region.  These historic examples have attracted contemporary works that complement the earlier art forms, as well as celebrate the perpetuation of these ancient artistic traditions today.


Baltimore Museum of Art 

The Museum’s outstanding collection is recognized for . . . one of the most important African collections in the country. Ancient Americas, Asian, Native American, & Pacific Islands.


Museum of Fine Arts  – Boston
Art of the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania, and jewelry

Benin Kingdom Gallery

In 2012, the MFA gratefully accepted the Robert Owen Lehman Collection of 34 rare West African works of art. Thirty-two objects are from the Kingdom of Benin in present-day southern Nigeria and two are from present-day Guinea and Sierra Leone. Best known for its sophisticated artistry, the Benin Kingdom, whose inhabitants are Edo peoples, goes back to the late 12th century. Among the most famous works, created by artists in the service of the king, are ivories and so-called bronzes (copper alloy pieces made in the lost wax-casting technique). The bronzes range from sculptural heads of kings and freestanding figures, to pendants and high-relief plaques that once adorned the walls of courtyards in the palace. The new Benin Kingdom Gallery displays this magnificent gift. An interactive feature on the iconography of ancient bronzes from the Benin Kingdom provides gallery visitors with a new way to explore key motifs of Benin art. The touch-screen display provides a close-up view of four objects: the Horseman, Battle Plaque, Double Gong, and Oba Dominating Leopards. Users can investigate these works in detail—zooming in on helmets, leopards, tunics, and swords—to gain insight to their symbolism in the culture of the Benin Kingdom.


Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology – Cambridge
The Peabody Today

The collections continue to grow through by gift, fieldwork, and purchase. Today, the Peabody houses more than 1.2 million individual objects, 500,000 photographic images, and substantial archival records. Strongest in the cultures of North, Central, and South America, and the Pacific Islands, the Peabody is also caretaker to important collections from Africa, Europe, and Asia. Collection types include Archaeology; Ethnography; Osteology; and Painting, Drawing, and Prints.

Major African collections were created for the Museum in the twentieth century in Liberia, southern Cameroon, and Uganda. Among these are masks, ceramics, textiles, baskets, and ritual objects.

Asian collections include materials from Eastern Asia, as well as the Middle East, Russia, and Central Asia. Excavation material comes from across the region, particularly Iran, Turkey, India, Vietnam, China, and Burma; ethnographic materials, from Japan and China. The Asian osteological collections are particularly strong in the Middle East, with modest collections from China, India, Iran, and Iraq, and are primarily associated with archaeological material.

Mexico and Central America  holdings include many fine Maya and Aztec collections from Mexico, Honduras, and Nicaragua, as well as colonial and historical materials from Mexico. The collections also include significant holdings from lower Central America. Ethnographic items include early twentieth-century textiles, folk art, and masks.

North American ethnographic collections from the seventeenth- to twenty-first centuries come from across the continent. Many rare objects from the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-centuries came to the Museum from the collections of the Boston Museum, the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Boston Marine Society.

Arctic, California, Great Basin, Midwest & Great Lakes, Northeast, Northwest Coast, Plains, Plateau, Southeast, Southwest, Subarctic

Collections from South America derive primarily from Peru, but also include small regional collections from other parts of the Continent. Featuring some of the earliest accessions of the Museum, items include those collected by Louis and Alexander Agassiz in the 1870s and 1880s.

Collections from Oceania, comprising the islands of the South Pacific, the Philippines, and Australia, are extensive and include many rare eighteenth-century items collected by Boston merchants, traders, and researchers on Pacific voyages. Also included in these collections are items collected by the U.S. exploring voyages of the 1870s and 1880s, as well as a large collection from the Philippines that came from its Governor General.

Peabody Museum of Salem
 Have you ever considered a museum’s collection an invitation to investigate your own relationship to creativity, or to interpret art and culture?
 To engage the mind and spirit, the PEM collection offers outstanding works primarily from the 1700s to today: paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, textiles, architecture and decorative objects. Our African, American, Asian, maritime, Native American and Oceanic art emphasizes the lively conversation that occurs through creativity across time, place and culture.
 1.8 million works — many of them the first to be collected in this country — offer experiences unique among American art museums. At PEM, our goal is not to hang art on the walls and then tell you what to think. Deep and far ranging, the collection opens windows onto how people live, work and celebrate. Here, you can explore art and the world in which it is made — revealing and comparing concepts of creativity, individuality, community, tradition, spirituality and even emotion. And the connections you make, because of your own experiences, inspire a journey as important as the artworks themselves.  Pinterest


University of Michigan Museum of Art – Ann Arbor
African, Asian

More than 1,000 works of African art. Although there is representation of nearly all the diverse peoples and regions within the continent, the Museum’s holdings are particularly rich in the works created in Central Africa, particularly of the Congo region and related groups. The collection includes metalwork (brass weights as well as articles of personal adornment), sculpture and masks, architectural elements, textiles, and ceramics.

Detroit Institute of Art
The museum holds significant works of African, Asian, Native American, Oceanic, Islamic, and Ancient art.

Kresge Art Museum, Michigan State University – East Lansing
Art and artifacts from Africa, Asia


Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Arts of Africa and the Americas & Asia


University of Missouri-Columbia Museum of Art & Archaeology
Asian, African, Ancient Americas, and Oceanic cultures are well represented.

The Museum’s ethnographic collection documents historical cultures of the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. The collection, which numbers thousands of individual items, comprises materials donated by University researchers, students, and alumni, as well as members of the general public in search of a home for their personal collections. Many materials also were generated from Museum-sponsored collecting expeditions.

Holdings are strong in Inuit (Eskimo) items such as skin garments and bone and ivory tools; Plains beaded and feathered items; Southwestern pottery, basketry, and kachina dolls; domestic items and apparel from Central America and Mexico; and hunting equipment, tools, weapons and personal items from various areas of Africa and Southeast Asia.


Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art – Kansas City
African, American Indian, South & Southeast Asian

St. Louis Art Museum

African Art, Ancient American Art, Art of the Pacific Islands, Asian Art, Native American Art


Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College – Hanover
 The collections of the Hood are rich, diverse, and available for the use of both the college and the broader community. Access to works of art is provided through permanent collection displays, the online collections database, special exhibitions, the Web site, scholarly publications, and programs and events. Numbering some 60,000 objects, the Hood’s collections present art from ancient cultures, the Americas, Europe, Africa, Papua New Guinea, and many other regions of the world. Highlights include the magnificent ninth-century BCE reliefs from the Assyrian palace of Ashurnasirpal II and a Panathenaic amphora by the Berlin Painter.
 African art at the Hood, particularly strong in West African masks and wooden figural sculptures, has been complemented in recent years by acquisitions of important works of contemporary art.

 The Hood’s holdings of about 1,900 objects from Africa include works from all regions of the continent rendered in a variety of media, including wood,beads, stone, ceramics, paint, metal, textile, and ivory. Although Dartmouth College’s newly established museum first acquired a stuffed zebra from Africa in 1772, it was not until the first decades of the nineteenth century that material culture, mostly from ancient Egypt, entered the collection. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw an increased interest in sub-Saharan Africa, beginning with a gift of forty-eight objects from South Africa in 1885 by Josiah Tyler, missionary and son of Dartmouth College President Bennet Tyler.
 Significant gifts made during the second half of the twentieth century greatly enhanced the collection in colonial-era sculpture from West and Central Africa. Among these pieces were around fifty sculptural works given by Evelyn A. and William B. Jaffe, Class of 1964H, during the 1960s and 1970s; almost two hundred brass castings, primarily used as body ornamentation, given by Arnold and Joanne Syrop in the 1980s and 1990s; and about eighty sculptures from the Harry A. Franklin Family Collection in the 1990s. Recent additions to the collection of sculptural works from East Africa further diversify the Hood’s collection of African art.


Newark Museum
Arts of Africa, Asia, the Americas
 The Museum’s African art collection ranks among the nation’s oldest and most comprehensive, representing the breadth, diversity and vitality of artistic creativity throughout the continent. Its holdings comprise nearly 4,000 objects of ritual, ceremonial and daily use, as well as popular urban and fine arts. They include outstanding examples of masks and figural sculpture, textiles and dress, pottery, jewelry, furniture, photography and paintings. The works range from historic artifacts, primarily dating to the late 19th and early 20th century, to examples of contemporary artistic creativity. The continental scope of the collection—especially its inclusion of art from northern, eastern and southern African countries—is a particular strength. Its holdings in these areas are unmatched today by most art museums, which historically focused on sculpture from west and central Africa in developing their collections.

The African art collection dates to the 1920s, when the Museum acquired several important early collections. Among these are works from southern Cameroon collected by the missionary Herbert W. Greig, examples of Yoruba art work collected by businessman Walter Dormitzer and objects from northeastern Congo and Kenya collected by the explorer Delia Akeley. The museum’s founder, John Cotton Dana, himself made two collecting trips to North Africa in 1924 and 1929 and made substantial purchases, forming the nucleus of the African textile collection. Along with its collecting program, the Museum also demonstrated an early commitment to exhibiting African art. The Museum’s African holdings were first exhibited in 1926, when the museum opened in its new building, and the focus of a special exhibition in 1928.

The African gallery showcases works from important art-producing cultures, including the Yoruba of Nigeria and the Asante of Ghana. Among the highlights are a towering Epa masquerade headdress by the renowned Yoruba sculptor Bamboye and a rare Tsogo door from Gabon. A stunning array of jewelry features ivory adornments from the Congo, silver pendants from Niger, beadwork from South Africa and an exceptional suite of gold jewelry from Zanzibar. The gallery also includes select examples from its important collection of African textiles, which has gained national recognition for its fine quality and breadth of representation. The collection encompasses several hundred examples representing most of the significant weaving traditions of sub-Saharan Africa as well as factory printed textiles and historic and contemporary examples of dress from across the continent.

The Newark Museum’s collection of Art of the Americas includes both Native North American art, the focus of a permanent gallery, and Latin American art. Its holdings comprise over 4,500 objects with a geographic span from Alaska to Argentina and a time span from the pre-Columbian era to the present.

The strengths of the Native North American art collection lie in works produced in the western and central United States, although art from the Great Lakes, Southwest, Plains and California are also well represented.  While there is some pre-contact material (primarily ceramic and stone artifacts), most of the works date from the 19th to the late 20th century.  The collection represents the diversity and richness of indigenous arts with a range of object types, from tools and household objects, personal objects and clothing, to ritual and ceremonial objects, and paintings and drawings.

These collections were begun in the 1910s and have grown steadily since.  Among the important early collections acquired by the Museum were those of Willard Olsen (Kuskokwim River, Alaska), Alfred Anderson (Coronation Gulf, Canada) and Amelia Elizabeth White (Southwest/Plains), who was an influential patron of Southwest Indian arts in Santa Fe during the 1920s and 1930s.  Many fine examples of pueblo pottery date from this early period of collecting, including an exceptional Zuni storage jar currently on display.  The collection of North American baskets is also comprehensive and includes many superb examples, including a number of magnificent Pomo feather baskets.

The Museum’s collection emphasizes the dynamic nature of Native American artistic traditions.  The contemporary vitality of tradition-based forms is represented by recent work by outstanding Pueblo potters such as Elizabeth Naranjo and Margaret Tafoya, contemporary textiles by Ramona Sakiestewa and Juanita Tsosie, and recent baskets by Mohawk artists Mary Leaf and Mary Adams.  In addition to tradition-based art made for local use, the Museum’s collection includes important examples of art produced for external markets over the past century.  These include beadwork made by Tuscarora women for sale during the Victorian era, carvings by Haida artist Charles Edenshaw from the 1920s, watercolors by Pueblo artists from the 1920s and 1930s, and paintings by the Seneca artist Sanford Plummer from the 1930s and 1940s.

The Museum’s collection of Latin American art dates to the early decades of the museum’s founding.  Its holdings collections range from pre-Columbian works, primarily from Mexico and Peru, to contemporary ceramics, household objects, clothing and textiles spanning a geographic range from Mexico to Argentina.  Among the highlights of the collection are textiles from both Central and South America, represented by fine examples from Guatemala, Peru and Bolivia.  Other strengths of the collection include popular arts from Mexico and art of the Peruvian Amazon, including outstanding examples of Shipibo pottery and weaving.

Oceania – Mostly acquired in 1924, the Museum’s Oceania collection numbers around 300 objects. Representing the diverse cultures of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia the largest group of items hails from Papua New Guinea closely followed by works from the Solomon Islands. Selected objects from Oceania are on permanent exhibition.

Philippine materials form the largest portion of the Southeast Asian holdings but works in all media from all nations of peninsular and insular Southeast Asia are found within the collections.


Princeton University Art Museum
With a collecting history that extends back to the 1750s, the Museum is one of the few university art museums of truly universal scope. Its collections, which number more than 92,000 works in all media, range from ancient to contemporary and span the globe.
 African, Ancient Americas, Asian

Society of African Missions – Tenafly
Established in 1980, the Tenafly museum is one of only a rare few in the United States dedicated solely to the arts of Africa. Its permanent collections, exhibited on a rotating basis, offer a unique advantage in the study and research of sub-Saharan sculpture and painting, costumes, textiles and decorative arts, religion and folklore.


Museum of International Folk Art – Santa Fe
African, Asian, Latin American


Brooklyn Museum
Arts of Africa, the Americas, the Pacific Islands, Asia
• Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas presents over one hundred masterpieces from our permanent Arts of the Americas collection, exemplifying the concept of transformation as part of the spiritual beliefs and practice of the region’s indigenous peoples, past and present. Themes of life, death, fertility, and regeneration are explored through pre-Columbian and historical artworks, including many pieces that are rarely on display.
• Highlights include the Huastec Life-Death Figure, the Kwakwaka’wakw Thunderbird Transformation Mask, and two eight-foot-tall, nineteenth-century Heiltsuk House Postsmade to support the huge beams of a great Northwest Coast plank house. Other featured objects include Hopi and Zuni kachinas, masks from throughout the Americas, Mexica (Aztec) and Maya sculptures, and ancient Andean textiles including the two-thousand-year-old Paracas Textile, which illustrates the way in which early cultures of Peru’s South Coast envisioned their relationship with nature and the supernatural realm.
• Among the twenty-one objects that have rarely or never been on public view are a full-body bark-cloth mask made by the Pami’wa of Colombia and Brazil, a Maya effigy vessel in the form of a hunchback wearing a jaguar skin, and two contemporary kachinas by Hopi carver Henry Shelton.
• Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas is organized by Nancy Rosoff, Andrew W. Mellon Curator, Arts of the Americas, Brooklyn Museum; and Susan Kennedy Zeller, Associate Curator, Native American Art, Brooklyn Museum.

American Museum of Natural History – New York City
Plains Indians, Eastern Woodland Indians, Northwest Coast Indians, Asian Peoples, African People, South American Peoples, Mexico and Central America

Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City
Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, Asian Art

The Museum’s collection of art of the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa, the Pacific Islands, and North, Central, and South America comprises more than eleven thousand works of art of varied materials and types, representing diverse cultural traditions from as early as 3000B.C.E. to the present. Highlights include decorative and ceremonial objects from the Court of Benin in Nigeria; sculpture from West and Central Africa; images of gods, ancestors, and spirits from New Guinea, Island Melanesia, Polynesia, and Island Southeast Asia; and objects of gold, ceramic, and stone from the Precolumbian cultures of Mexico and Central and South America.

Arts of Africa

The Museum’s collection of African art covers a large geographical area, from the western Sudan south and east through central and southern Africa. Works on view range from an Ethiopian gospel and processional crosses from the fifteenth and sixteenth century to refined Afro-Portuguese ivories from the same period and formally powerful Fang reliquary figures that appealed to early twentieth-century artists such as Jacob Epstein and André Derain. The galleries include figurative and architectural sculpture, masks, seats of leadership, staffs of office, ceremonial vessels, and personal ornaments. Many of these works were originally created to reinforce the rank and prestige of regional leaders, others to indicate the collective status of initiates invested with specific social responsibilities, still others to pay homage to ancestral forces. While wood is the primary medium, works made of stone, terracotta, gold, silver, and ivory are also on display, as are textiles and beadwork. An important assemblage of royal art from the Court of Benin in Nigeria, dating from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century, consists of brass figures and architectural plaques, carved ivory altar tusks, musical instruments, boxes, staffs, and courtly and personal ornaments, among other works.

Arts of Oceania

Encompassing the arts and cultures of the Pacific Islands, Oceania covers more than a third of the Earth’s surface and includes the three main regions of the Pacific Islands proper—Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia—together with Australia and Island Southeast Asia. This vast region is home to roughly 1,800 different cultures and an immense diversity of artistic traditions. While the earliest examples of Oceanic art—the rock paintings of the Australian Aboriginals—are thought to be more than forty thousand years old, the majority of surviving works date from the eighteenth through the twenty-first century. The Metropolitan’s collection is particularly strong in sculpture from the island of New Guinea, both from the Sepik River region in the northeast and from the Asmat people in the southwest. The works on view range from elegant, relatively naturalistic figures from Polynesia and Island Southeast Asia; to angular, minimalist sculpture and decorative arts from Micronesia; to fantastic, otherworldly images of Melanesian ancestors and spirits; and the graceful figures and vibrant  geometric compositions of Australian Aboriginal art.

Arts of the Americas

The Museum’s holdings of Precolumbian art represent the portion of North and South America that reaches from Mexico south through Peru, covering a 3,500-year period that begins at about 3000 B.C.E. and ends with the arrival of the Spanish in the early sixteenth century C.E. Among the objects on view from Mexico are Olmec ceramic vessels and figures from the first millennium B.C.E., appealing sculptural ceramics from West Mexico from the end of the first millennium, and Aztec stone sculpture dating to the fifteenth century. Maya works include an elegant, imposing seated figure in wood, a rare survivor of the almost tropical environment, and fluidly carved relief sculptures of the eighth century. From the Caribbean, works by the Taino peoples display distinctive imagery adorning pieces that range from small shell objects to large sculptures in wood. Objects and textiles of many eras represent ancient South America: ceramic vessels of Chavin times in the first millennium B.C.E.; textiles and garments of several millennia and places, which display amazing colors and ingenious patterning; and many types of works of gold or copper—sometimes both—created for many different purposes. The South American Gallery also houses the Jan Mitchell Treasury in which all the goldworking regions of the Americas are represented.

A gallery devoted to Native North American art displays approximately ninety works made by numerous American peoples. Ranging from the beautifully shaped stone tools known as bannerstones of several millennia B.C.E. to a mid-1970s tobacco bag, the objects illustrate a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, artistic styles, and functional purposes, all qualities inherent in the art of the peoples of the large North American continent. Works include wood sculpture from the Northwest Coast of North America, ivory carvings from the Arctic, wearing blankets from the Southwest, and objects of hide from the Great Plains.

History of the Department

A gift of Peruvian antiquities made in 1882 was the first acquisition the Metropolitan made in the areas now covered by the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, but the department was not established until 1969 and the Promised Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller. The Rockefeller gift offer included more than three thousand works of art, a specialized library (the Robert Goldwater Library), and the Visual Resource Archive, which documents, in various formats, the art and culture of the regions represented by the department. In 1982, the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, newly built to display the collections, opened to the public. The wing is named for Nelson Rockefeller’s son Michael, the collector of many of the Asmat objects from Papua Province (western New Guinea), Indonesia, now on display in the Museum. Since the opening of the wing, the department has mounted temporary, focused exhibitions on topics relevant to the collections.
Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture
A research unit of The New York Public Library system. It is recognized as one of the leading institutions focusing exclusively on African-American, African Diaspora, and African experiences.
The Neuberger Museum of Art, State University of New York – Purchase
African art has been an integral part of the Neuberger Museum of Art since it opened in 1974. In 1999, the collection almost doubled in size with the major gift of 153 works from the collection of the late Lawrence Gussman, a notable collector and a resident of Scarsdale, New York.
 Lawrence Gussman’s interest in Africa began in 1957 when he met Dr. Albert Schweitzer at his hospital in Labaréné (Gabon). This first encounter sparked a friendship between them that endured until Schweitzer’s death in 1965.
 Also sharing Dr. Schweitzer’s strong belief in humanitarian aid, Gussman and his wife returned each year to work at Dr. Schweitzer’s hospital. They both went for over thirty years. It was in Gabon that Gussman’s fascination with the art of Central Africa began; yet despite his annual trips to Gabon, he collected only in Europe and the United States, primarily through auction houses, dealers, and other collectors (more information on Lawrence Gussman ).
 Thus, the African collection at the Neuberger Museum of Art is strongest in the arts of central Africa. Major objects, however, span a broad geographic range from Mali to Mozambique, offering artistic insights into over thirty cultures.
 Only a small portion of the collection was on view until October 12, 2007 when the Neuberger Museum of Art opened its brilliantly refurbished gallery and vastly expanded the number of objects on view from thirty-five to eighty-two.


William Hayes Ackland Memorial Art Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

 African
The collection represents cultures of the West African coast stretching roughly from Sierra Leone to Cameroon. The present collection includes one ancient Nok terra-cotta sculpture and a few other terra-cotta pieces, but it consists primarily of twentieth-century wood-carving.
 Asian – art works from the Himalayan region (Tibetan, Sino-Tibetan, and Nepali painting and sculpture).

Mint Museum – Charlotte
 Art of the Ancient Americas
The ancient New World, one of the illustrious cradles of human civilization, is featured at The Mint Museum. This wide-ranging collection showcases more than 2,500 artworks from the ancient Americas. The museum’s collection, the majority having been donated by Dr. and Mrs. Francis Robicsek, is one of the largest in the United States, spanning 4,300 years of artistic creativity from 2800 BCE to 1500 CE, and presenting more than forty of the major societies from ancient Mesoamerica (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador), Central America (Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama), and Andean South America (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile).
 Two galleries are dedicated to the arts of the ancient Americas at Mint Museum Randolph, exploring the works from two viewpoints. First, the objects are viewed as windows into the society that created them, borrowing the “material culture” approach from anthropology and archaeology. As such, artworks reveal a people’s daily routines, social practices, politics, intellectual accomplishments, and spiritual beliefs. The museum equally views these pieces as art–that is, manifestations of human creativity and technical expertise that highlight the universal impulse to produce well-crafted, emotion-filled objects. The aesthetics and creative techniques developed by the ancient artists of the Americas are equally explored in the galleries. These works–in earthenware, jadeite and other stones, gold and silver, shell, and fiber–personify and preserve these now-lost civilizations whose descendants are the foundations of the modern nations of Latin America.

 Native American Art

Native peoples throughout the Americas have persevered five hundred years of colonization and persecution since the sixteenth century. Their arts have played a key role in survival, preserving cultural identity and the fundamental principles of society and spirituality that sustain all human civilizations. The Mint Museum’s collection of modern and contemporary Native arts of the Americas showcases works from Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Guatemala, from the nineteenth century to today. They reveal the resilience of human creativity and the artists’ aesthetic responses to Native culture and our modern world. These artworks complement the museum’s comprehensive collection of the art of the ancient Americas, providing the rare opportunity to compare Precolumbian and modern Native expressions in a variety of media.
 The Mint Museum’s Native Americas collection was donated by Gretchen and Nelson Grice who began collecting in the late 1980s. They admired the remarkable artistic expressiveness and marvelous craftsmanship of these works in clay, wood, and fiber. Four art forms are featured in the Grice Collection–Native American and Canadian basketry, performance masks from Mexico, Guatemala, the United States and Canada, Maya textiles from Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico, and contemporary ceramics from the Southwest and other Native peoples in the United States.
 The Maya textile collection features the myriad traditional clothing styles that distinguish the different peoples and towns in southern Mexico and Guatemala. The performance masks, mostly from Mexico, illustrate the variety of dance pageants and their many characters that are essential to contemporary community life. The basket collection includes many early examples of the finest quality such as those from northern California. And the ceramics, primarily from the Southwest, feature pottery styles and artists mostly from New Mexico and Arizona. The Grices visited many of the artists in their workshops, becoming friends and acquiring their works before they became famous. Thus the collection not only presents an extraordinary range of artistic styles but also many early pieces from now-prominent Native artists.

Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University – Durham
The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University owns more than 10,000 works of art. As part of its mission, the Nasher Museum created this online database to make its collections accessible to a wide audience. This is an ongoing project, so please check back periodically to browse new entries.
The Nasher Museum’s permanent collection is strong in:
• Art of the Americas (largely pre-Columbian)
Other collections include:
• Traditional African art
• Asian art

Mattye Reed African Heritage Center, North Carolina A & T State University – Greensboro
African art and artifacts, this museum offers tours and lectures that are meant to educate people in the accomplishments, history, and culture of African societies and persons of African descent. Over 3,500 items from more than 30 African nations are housed here

North Carolina Museum of Art – Raleigh
Strengths include African, ancient American, pre-Columbian, and Oceanic art


Cincinnati Art Museum
Art of the Americas, Africa, Asia
Cleveland Museum of Art

Dayton Art Institute
The Dayton Art Institute’s permanent collection contains more than 26,000 objects, spanning 5,000 years of art history. At any given time, The Dayton Art Institute’s galleries display about 1,000 works from the permanent collection.
 The Dayton Art Institute features galleries devoted to African Art, Oceanic Art, Pre-Columbian Art, Native American Art and Glass.



The Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Eugene

The museum’s ethnographic collections represent recent peoples and consist of hand-crafted items including textiles, musical instruments, weapons, and other objects illustrating traditional technologies and everyday life. Assembled through private gifts, these objects reflect the lifeways of many cultures and the collective experiences of our local community.


Portland Art Museum

The museum has strong collections of  Asian art, and Native American (especially Pacific Coast) art, and Northwest art.


Bryn Mawr College
The anthropology collection includes more than 8,000 objects from around the world.
The Twyeffort-Hollenback Collection of Southwest Pottery and Native American Ethnography, the George and Anna Hawks Vaux, Class of 1935, MA 1941, Collection of Native American Basketry; the Ward and Miriam Coffin Canaday, Class of 1906, collection of Pre-Columbian ceramics and Peruvian textiles; and pieces collected in Oceania by retired anthropology professor Dr. Jane Goodale.

The African Collection has grown rapidly since 1990, when Bryn Mawr alumna Margaret Feurer Plass, Class of 1917, bequeathed to the college select pieces from her private collection. During the 1990s a donation of more than 270 African art objects by Mace Neufeld and Helen Katz Neufeld. Professor of Anthropology Philip Kilbride supplemented these collections with ethnographic objects he collected in East Africa in the 1960s.
Online access to art and artifacts from Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, and Swarthmore College

Dickinson College – Carlisle
The holdings represent art and ethnographic artifacts from antiquity to the present and are particularly rich in American and European works on paper and African sculpture. Additions to the collection are made through purchase, gift, and bequest. Central America, South America, Oceania, Australia

Barnes Foundation – Philadelphia
Celebrated for its exceptional breadth, depth, and quality, the Barnes Foundation’s art collection includes works by some of the greatest European and American masters of impressionism, post-impressionist, and early modern art, as well as African sculpture, Pennsylvania German decorative arts, Native American textiles, metalwork, and more.

University of Pennsylvania, University Museum – Philadelphia
African Section
The African collection at the Penn Museum is one of the largest collections in the country. The collection includes approximately 15,000 ethnographic and 5,000 archaeological objects and most of the collection was obtained between 1891 and 1937. A large part of the collection was purchased in 1912 from art dealers in London and Hamburg; many of these objects were collected in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) by the famous German ethnographer Leo Frobenius.

American Section
The collections of the American Section are the largest of the Penn Museum and number approximately 300,000 archaeological and ethnographic specimens. The collections span the continents of North and South America from Alaska to Argentina, and document human habitation and history from the ancient past to the present day. More than half of the American collection is archaeological in nature, and much of the collection was acquired on more than 100 archaeological and ethnographic collecting expeditions initiated by Museum and University faculty and staff as early as 1895.

Asian Section
The Asian section at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology covers all of Asia and has a little over 25,000 objects. Most of our objects are kept in storage and used for research and classroom purposes; only about 1% are on display at any time. Unlike many other sections of the museum, the Asian collection has little archaeological material as our focus is largely on ethnographic collections.

Oceanian Section
The Oceanian collections of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology include over 22,000 objects from all the major island groups of the Pacific (Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia), insular Southeast Asia, and Australia. Except for a very limited number of archaeological specimens, the collections are ethnographic, representing the material culture of the Pacific peoples from the mid-19th century to the present.


Haffenreffer Museum, Brown University – Bristol
The Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology’s Collections Research Center holds more than one million ethnographic objects, archaeological specimens and images from all parts of the world, with particular strengths in the Americas, Africa and Southeast Asia. These collections include nearly 60,000 objects collected by Rudolf F. Haffenreffer before his death in 1954 and a similar number obtained through fieldwork, donations, and strategic acquisitions since the Museum became part of Brown University in 1955. The Haffenreffer Museum’s collections are housed at its Collections Research Center in Bristol, RI, and are available to researchers by appointment. Please contact Kevin Smith, Deputy Director, or Thierry Gentis, Associate Curator, to discuss research and for questions about access.


Fisk University Galleries – Nashville
Significant examples of African, Oceanic, and Asian art. Works from the collection are exhibited regularly in permanent and temporary installations


Dallas Museum of Fine Arts
The Dallas Museum of Art’s collection contains over 22,000 works of art from all cultures and time periods spanning 5,000 years of human creativity. The collection is dynamic; new acquisitions are being added all the time and the galleries are constantly changing.

Kimbell Art Museum – Fort Worth
Asian Art
The Asian collection comprises sculptures, paintings, bronzes, ceramics, and works of decorative art from China, Korea, Japan, India, Nepal, Tibet, Cambodia, and Thailand.
Precolumbian Art
Precolumbian art is represented by Maya works in ceramic, stone, shell, and jade; Olmec, Zapotec, and Aztec sculpture; and pieces from the Conte and Wari cultures.
African and Oceanic Art
The African collection consists primarily of bronze, wood, and terracotta sculpture from West and Central Africa, including examples from Nigeria, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Oceanic art is represented by a Maori figure.

Museum of Fine Arts – Houston
Arts of Africa, Asia, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, North America, and the South Pacific

“African” describes art from the diverse continent of Africa from 500 BC to the present. The museum’s African art collection features masks, sculptures, headdresses, textiles, and objects from a variety of regions, cultures, and countries. Masterpieces include a refined cast-metal head of a king from the Court of Benin, and a Fang culture reliquary figure that inspired early-20th-century artists. Many artworks were created to reinforce the rank and prestige of rulers, or to indicate status. Others honor ancestors. The African galleries of the MFAH were expanded and redesigned in 2010.

Arts of Africa

“Oceanic” refers to native cultures of Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific islands. The ocean has shaped these peoples and their art. Many works were fashioned from wood and plant fibers like reeds, and adorned with paint, feathers, and shells. Precious objects were also carved from stone. These peoples believed the universe was governed by invisible natural forces appeased by ritual and art. Ancestors were revered. The artworks in the museum’s collection of Oceanic art are distinguished by visually potent designs. In 2008, the MFAH expanded its display of Oceanic objects.

Arts of the South Pacific

Pre-Columbian Art
“Pre-Columbian” describes the cultures that lived in Central and South America before Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492. Pre-Columbian art consists of two main regions: Mesoamerica—which includes Mexico and Central America—and South America. Over a period of more than 3,000 years kingdoms and empires rose and fell, leaving ruins and great works of art. Olmec jade, Maya stone sculpture, Nasca and Paracas textiles, and fine Moché ceramics are among the extraordinary artworks in the MFAH collection. In the 2009, the museum opened new, expanded Pre-Columbian art galleries.

Arts of Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean

“Native American” describes the art of diverse cultures of North America. The collection includes ceramics, kachina dolls, watercolors, textiles, baskets, masks, and silver jewelry dating from 2000 B.C. to the 1950s. The collection includes works from the Apache, Kwakiutl, and Tlingit cultures. Artworks of the Pueblo cultures of northern Arizona and New Mexico given by Houston philanthropist Miss Ima Hogg are the collection’s strength. In 2006 and 2008, the MFAH opened two galleries in the Caroline Wiess Law Building dedicated to the permanent display of Native American art.

Arts of North America

San Antonio Museum of Art
Oceanic Art
The Museum’s collection of Oceanic Art comprises the visual arts traditions of numerous cultures scattered throughout the vast expanse of the Middle and South Pacific. The sculptural art of Papua New Guinea and French Polynesia are particularly well represented at the Museum. Most of these objects were acquired by Gilbert M. Denman, Jr., the noted collector of Greek and Roman art. Aboriginal Australian, native Hawaiian and Maori objects are also included in the Oceanic Collection.

Latin American Art

One of the most comprehensive collections of Latin American art in the United States. The collection spans 4,000 years and contains paintings, sculpture, works on paper and other objects from Mexico, Central America, South America and countries of the Caribbean.

The Pre-Columbian art gallery is comprised of three main sections, Mesoamerica, Central America and the Andes.


University of Virginia – Charlottesville
The Fralin’s collection highlights include African art, and American Indian art. Many of our finest objects are available online for browsing and study.

Hampton University Museum
The Museum was established in 1868, the same year as Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, now Hampton University. Its primary mission has remained unchanged: to provide knowledge and understanding of, and respect for, diverse cultures and traditions. From the beginning the collections of the Museum were to instill a pride of ethnic identity and knowledge of world cultures. Instruction in geography, cultures, and history was solidified through close examination of museum objects, which were carefully acquired to support the curriculum. The first objects were acquired from the Pacific Islands by the school’s founder General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, who was born and raised in Hawaii, the son of missionary/educator parents.
 By the 1870s Hampton had established an African studies program and dozens of African pieces from various cultures were registered into the collection over the following three decades. Then in 1911 the school acquired the William H. Sheppard Collection of African Art – several hundred superb pieces gathered by Hampton alumnus William Sheppard between 1890 and 1910 in what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Not only was Sheppard the first westerner to enter the Kuba Kingdom, he was first African American to collect African art in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His contribution to Hampton University Museum’s collections gives it the oldest collection of Kuba-related material in the world.
 In 1878, Hampton began a pioneering program in America Indian education. Between 1878 and 1923 over 1300 native students from 66 tribal groups attended the school. Collecting American Indian as well as African art was consciously tied to nurturing ethnic pride and developing cross-cultural understanding among students.
 Among the Museum’s distinction is its collection of African American fine art. With the 1894 acquisition of two paintings by Henry O. Tanner, it established the world’s first collection of African American art. One of these paintings, The Banjo Lesson, is acknowledged as the most admired work by an African American artist.. Hampton was the recipient of a gift of hundreds of work of art from the Harmon Foundation in 1967 which includes representation of most of the important artists from the Harlem Renaissance into the early 1960s. The museum also houses the Countee and Ida Cullen Art Collection, a group of 29 works of art acquired from the widow of the famed Harlem Renaissance poet. Among the most outstanding holdings are works by three important figures connected to the visual arts at Hampton: John T. Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, and Samella S. Lewis. The Museum has expanded its collection of contemporary artists to include Romare Bearden, Sam Gilliam, Murry DePillars, Richard Mayhew, Moe Brooker, Raymond Saunders, David MacDonald, Ron Adams, Sonya Clark, James Phillips, and Margo Humphrey. Additionally, more than forty contemporary self-trained artists are represented in the collection including Anderson Johnson, Mose Tolliver, Bessie Harvey, Purvis Young, and Thornton Dial, Sr. Today the collection numbers over 1,500 pieces and is one of the largest and strongest collections of African American art in the world.
 The Museum’s Asian and Pacific Islands collection includes acquisitions from Japan and the Philippines. Many of the pieces in the Japanese collection were acquired in 1918 from the estate of Alice Bacon, a former teacher at Hampton who went to Japan in 1888 to teach women in the Imperial Court. The Philippine Collection, acquired in 1914, is representative of both the southern and northern regions of the Philippines.

Hampton University Museum
Enduring Legacy: Native Peoples, Native Arts at Hampton
 March 28, 1999, the Hampton University Museum unveiled its historic collection of American Indian art and artifacts in a new, permanent installation, Enduring Legacy: Native Peoples, Native Arts at Hampton.
 Mary Lou Hultgren, the museum’s former curator of collections, stated, “Enduring Legacy offers a wonderful opportunity to share with the public objects that have not been exhibited for many years.”
 “The Native lives represented in Hampton’s historic American Indian program are a testament to the beauty, strength, and tenacity of the cultures to which they belong,” noted Dr. Paulette Molin (Minnesota Chippewa), co-curator of the exhibition. “Although a numerical minority, the students transcended their small numbers and the brief, 45-year time span of the program to extend an influence that reverberates today. For Native Americans, the multifaceted impact of the boarding school era, of which Hampton’s program is a part, is complex and generational. These stories are critical to our understanding of an important chapter in the history of this country.”

The Art of Africa: Power, Beauty, Community
 Hampton University Museum’s African Collection – the finest at any African American museum or educational institution in the United States-is once more on view in The Art of Africa: Power, Beauty, Community. This dazzling exhibition of over 200 artifacts from across sub-Saharan Africa showcases the strength of Hampton’s collection.
 The Art of Africa includes not only objects from the Museum’s historic collections, but also a number of pieces that the Museum has acquired since the 1960’s. Approximately half of the objects on display have never before been exhibited at Hampton!
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts – Richmond
The museum’s holdings of South Asian, Himalayan, and African art are among the finest in the nation. Ancient American,


Burke Museum, Seattle

The Burke Museum is particularly renowned for its collections of Native American art and artifacts.

Objects of cultural heritage from living cultures of the Americas, the Pacific Islands, and Asia. A portion of these collections are on display in the museum galleries. You can also explore the collections online.

Seattle Art Museum
African, Ancient American, Asian, Australian Aboriginal, Native American, Oceanic, Pacific Northwest


Milwaukee Public Museum
The Milwaukee Public Museum’s Anthropology department consists of ethnographic collections primarily covering native North and South American groups, African and Pacific aboriginal peoples, and traditional Southeast Asian tribal groups. Also included is archaeological material from the Pre-Columbian Americas, and Paleolithic/Neolithic materials from the Old World (Europe-Asia-Africa).