This collection mainly covers Oceania (particularly the Solomon Islands) and Africa, but also some items from Asia and the Americas, spanning the 16th to 21st century. It features functional ‘everyday’ items such as basketwork, tools and utensils, objects of adornment, textiles and weaponry. The Oceanic collection is particularly rare because lots of objects demonstrate beliefs and social practices before Western contact and invasion. Most of this material comes from the private collections of individuals who had some personal connection with Birmingham or the wider Midlands, but who travelled overseas through trade, military and colonial service, missionary work and occasional ethnographic fieldwork.


  • African and Oceanic weapons, including a recently published coconut fibre cuirass from Micronesia
  • North American and South African beadwork including James Bay Cree beaded hoods and an Oklahoma Cherokee thread embroidered coat
  • figurative sculpture including a female Fijian figure.