The African Collections
The Museum has more than 1800 textiles, costumes and related artefacts from Africa. These reflect the strengths of the Museum's African collections as a whole. Outstanding textiles from West Africa include Nigerian clothing and masquerade costumes, and kente cloths from Ghana. Masquerade costumes were collected by government anthropologist N.W. Thomas between 1909 - 1913 and by civil servant and anthropologist G.I. Jones in the 1930s. From East Africa the Museum has barkcloths from Uganda, many obtained by missionary Reverend J. Roscoe in the early twentieth century. Animal skin clothing from Sudan was acquired by anthropologist E.E. Evans-Pritchard during ground-breaking fieldwork with the Nuer in the 1930s. From Central Africa, there are examples of the exceptional raffia cloths made by the Kuba peoples, collected by missionary Reverend Lawson Forfeitt circa 1900.
More recently, the Museum has acquired Ethiopian paintings on cloth, which depict ecclesiastical subjects. Anthropologist Esther Goody made an extensive collection of Ghanaian textiles and related tools in the 1980s. The Museum's holdings continue to grow - three kente cloths from Ghana were donated to the Museum in 2003. Their acquisition prompted a special display in the Museum's newly refurbished textile case.