Collection Highlights

Allen Collection of Lamps

Allen Collection of Lamps

Approximately 300 lighting devices from around the world and across the centuries, including lamps from over 30 cultures ranging in age from 100 to 3500 years old.

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CAS Photo


 
Elgueta Collection (Mayan)

Elgueta Collection (Mayan)

Over 1000 objects from Chalchitan and Pichikil, archaeological sites in Highland Guatemala. Predominately jade and pottery, this collection survived the 1906 earthquake and fire, and many of the pieces bear scars from those events.
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 to view this collection.

CAS Photo


 
Elkus Collection (Native American)

Elkus Collection (Native American)

Nearly 1700 Native American objects, including textiles, jewelry, baskets, pottery, works of art on paper, katsina carvings, and beadwork. The primary focus is the U.S. Southwest, but California, Alaska, the Northwest Coast, and the Plains regions are also represented. Read the Elkus Indian Papers from the Academy Archives.
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 to view this collection.

CAS Photo/Dong Lin


 

Kadota Collection (Japanese Folk Toys)

Over 500 handmade mingei (traditional folk toys), with examples from temples and festivals in every prefecture, and including clay rattles, papier mâché figurines, wooden kokeshi dolls and painted votive plaques.
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 to view this collection.

CAS Photo


 
Liebes Collection (Native Alaskan)

Liebes Collection (Native Alaskan)

Approximately 1000 Native Alaskan objects, primarily bone and ivory tools, ivory craft items, two full-sized kayaks, and two baleen baskets.
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 to view this collection.

CAS Photo/Dong Lin


 
Ostheimer Collection (Hawai'ian)

Ostheimer Collection (Hawai'ian)

Nearly 500 Hawai'ian objects, including stone tools, wooden bowls, fishing equipment, feather leis, and a fragmentary warrior's helmet.
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 to view this collection.

CAS Photo/Dong Lin


 
Owings Collection (Hopi Katsinam)

Owings Collection (Hopi Katsinam)

100+ Hopi katsina carvings, including many identified by artist.
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 to view this collection.

CAS Photo/Dong Lin


 
Rietz Collection of Food Technology

Rietz Collection of Food Technology

More than 1200 items from around the world, but primarily of European or American manufacture. The objects relate to the role of food in various cultures, including processing, storage, preparation, and serving. Visit our online exhibits, many of which feature objects from the Rietz Collection.
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 to view this collection.

CAS Photo/Dong Lin


 
Rietz Collection of Textiles (Coptic Egypt and pre-Columbian Peru

Rietz Collection of Textiles (Coptic Egypt and pre-Columbian Peru)

Over 75 fragmentary Coptic textiles from the first millennium CE and nearly 60 complete or nearly complete pre-Columbian Inca clothing items. See our online exhibit Coptic Textiles from Egypt.
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 to view this collection.

CAS Photo


 
Rollo Beck Collection (South Pacific)

Rollo Beck Collection (South Pacific)

Approximately 400 objects from at least 14 distinct island groups, including the Solomon, Fiji, and Santa Cruz Islands. The items were collected independently in the late 1920s by members of the American Museum of Natural History-sponsored Whitney Expedition. See our online exhibit The Pacific Voyages of Rollo Beck.
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 to view this collection.

CAS Photo/Dong Lin


 
Torry Collection (Gabra, Kenya)

Torry Collection (Gabra, Kenya)

Nearly 250 objects, mostly household and utilitarian objects, collected in the 1970s among the Gabra people of Kenya.
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 to view this collection.

CAS Photo  

FAQs

  • Accessing the collection

    The Anthropology collections are available for study by qualified researchers by advance appointment only. To determine if our collection contains any objects which might prove useful to your research, please visit our online collection database which is searchable by culture, geography, object type, and other selected criteria.


    If you would like to arrange a visit to view specific objects and/or related documentation, please contact Senior Collection Manager Russell Hartman at rhartman at calacademy dot org or (415) 379-5385.

  • Borrowing collection objects

    Objects from the Anthropology collections are available for loan to accredited institutions for public exhibitions and limited educational use. Please visit our online collection database to search for objects by culture, geography, object type, and other selected criteria.


    If you would like to arrange to borrow objects from the collections, contact Senior Collection Manager Russell Hartman at rhartman at calacademy dot org or (415) 379-5385. Final approval of any loan is at the discretion of the Collection Manager and/or Curator of the Department of Anthropology.

  • Donating objects

    The Department of Anthropology actively collects materials from the indigenous cultures of western North America (exclusive of Mexico) and the Pacific Rim, including all Pacific islands and East Asia. Select items from outside these areas may also be accessioned when they complement and enhance current holdings. The Department relies almost exclusively on donations to expand its collection. Although our collection is primarily composed of ethnographic materials, items from any time period may be considered. Objects retaining good provenance data are highly preferred. Acceptance of donations is at the discretion of the Collection Manager and Curator of the Department of Anthropology.


    If you are interesting in donating to the department, please contact Senior Collection Manager Russell Hartman at rhartman at calacademy dot org or (415) 379-5385.

  • Identifying objects

    Staff of the Department of Anthropology may be able to assist in identifying cultural affiliation, date of manufacture, material, and/or other aspects of anthropological items of types or from cultures with which we have expertise.


    If you have an object with which you believe we might be of assistance, please contact Senior Collection Manager Russell Hartman at rhartman at calacademy dot org or (415) 379-5385. For non-anthropological items, please contact the Academy’s Naturalist Center or the relevant Research department.

  • Appraising objects

    Professional standards prohibit Academy staff members from appraising items or recommending an appraiser. Please locate a professional appraiser qualified in the area relevant to your item(s).

  • Internships

    The Department of Anthropology is currently accepting intern applications in collections management, to assist with our ethnographic collection digitization project. Internships are unpaid and usually count towards course credit. All positions have been filled through spring 2014. Applications for summer 2014 are due by May 15. For a full description of the position and instructions on how to apply, click here. For more information, contact the department at (415) 379-5385 or email rhartman at calacademy dot org.

  • Volunteer opportunities

    There are currently no volunteer positions available in the Department of Anthropology.

     

    The Department of Anthropology periodically has volunteer opportunities in collections management. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the Academy's Volunteer Department at (415) 379-5111 or via email at volunteer at calacademy dot org to request an application.

  • Online database

    The entire Anthropology collection database is available and searchable online, including digital images for the entire collection.

  • Publishing permission

    Requests for permission to publish are required in writing. Downloadable PDF forms are available for Permission to Publish Photographic Materials and for Permission to Publish Written Materials. Fees may apply. Please print out the appropriate page, fill in all requested data, and send it to the address listed at the bottom of the form. For further assistance, please contact Senior Collection Manager Russell Hartman at rhartman at calacademy dot org or (415) 379-5385.