Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas
The scope of the collection is contemporary, archaeological and historical. It includes most of Africa (outside Ancient Egypt, Sudan and the Mediterranean) the Pacific and Australia, as well as the Americas. Most of the collections were acquired during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and largely date from this time.
Research and collecting continues today in Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, the Southwest of the United States, and the Northwest Coast of America. Projects are underway in the Caribbean, Ecuador and Peru, and in the Pacific in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. In Africa the focus is on Ghana and Mali in West Africa, and on Ethiopia, Kenya and Mozambique in the east.
Between 1970 and 1997 the department (then known as the Department of Ethnography) was well known for its lively exhibitions and related activities which took place at the Museum of Mankind. Since it returned to the main Museum site in Bloomsbury, the department has continued to display its collection in permanent galleries and a number of highly-successful temporary exhibitions.
The Anthropology Library and Research Centre includes the Museum's Anthropology Library and provides access to information about its ethnographic collections, as well as an identification service. All levels of enquiries are welcome.
Access to European and Asian ethnography acquired before 2004 is managed through the Centre of Anthropology, or alternatively by through the departments of Prehistory and Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.