The collection encompasses a wide variety of items, from instruments, textiles, jewelry, tools, and sculptures to objects for everyday use or for occasional ceremonial events. Pictured above, for example, is a narrow strip of kente cloth, a type of vibrant, woven textile from the Asante area in Ghana. While originally intended to be worn as royal regalia in the Asante Kingdom, today kente cloth has become a symbol of pan-African identity.
Beyond more common instruments such as drums, thumb pianos, and rattles, the collection also features two examples of the ‘valiha,’ a special type of stringed bamboo tube that are made and played in Madagascar. The two in the Museum’s collection come from Nosy Be (“big island”), an island off the northwest coast of Madagascar.
To see more objects from the Museum’s Africa collection, stop by the Museum’s window displays, located across the main hallway of each floor, or check out some of the feature photos below.
Kelsey Petersen was the Growdon Collections Intern for fall 2018. She is a second year Master’s candidate at Tufts University studying Art History and Museum Studies, with a focus on the arts of Africa and its display in museum contexts. While at Boston Children’s Museum, she worked on researching, cataloging, and digitizing the Museum’s collection of items from Africa.
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