The Cutting Edge – assisting with blade analysis

Sadly The Curious Case of… is now over, packed up and the objects back in the stores but the project is not over yet. From now until December the volunteers involved have been offered opportunities across Tyne & Wear Museums to try their hand at other aspects of working in museums that interest them. I have been … Continue reading

Chocolate politics

The major chocolate manufactures in Britain at the beginning of the twentieth century, Cadbury, Rowntree and Fry, were all headed by non-conformists, Quakers, with a strong obligation to social justice. Most notably Cadbury with their model village of Bournville for their workers. Bournville Villiage c.1905 Cadbury was also a prominent Liberal and owner of the … Continue reading

Magic Lantern Slides – the Ovimbundu people

The Ovimbundu people are the largest ethnic group in modern Angola and primarily inhabit the Bié Plateau and central coastal region. Through comparing descriptions of their kinship structures and that of those supplying the contract labourers in William Cadbury’s Labour Conditions in Portuguese West Africa I believe that they are the group that supplied the … Continue reading

Chinese papers and the Boxer Rebellion

I first came across the Chinese papers by accident, I found the envelope containing them underneath a box containing other items in the stores. It was great to see the colourful prints when I unfolded them as, due to the nature of ethnographic material being made of organic substances and the age of the collection, … Continue reading

Dayak Culture

I initially chose the head hunters knife as I found the thought of it quite disturbing. The thought of holding something that was used to kill and was decorated with the hair of the victims unsettled me but also aroused my curiosity into why head hunting was practised.   After an initial internet search proved … Continue reading

Encountering racism within my research

While compiling my research for all of the objects I am exhibiting I have read a lot that was written at the height of the influence of European imperialism and the British Empire. While I understand that it was a different world with very different value systems to contemporary Britain. Whilst reading around the indigenous … Continue reading

Eskimo/Inuit carving research

Being my curious, or nosey, self when I spotted a new acquisition in the stores I had to have a look. The box they were donated in was marked ‘Eskimo things’ and contained a selection of small bone or ivory carvings of Arctic wildlife as well as sleds, boats and human figures. Because they were … Continue reading

First impression of the stores.

Before choosing the items for exhibition I spent quite a lot of time in the stores and the MODES records, probably the most over all out of the group, familiarising myself with the collections. When first entering the ethnography stores in the Discovery basement I was overcome by the sheer scale of the collection. There … Continue reading