Longyear Museum of Anthropology - Collections Skip Navigation

Collections

The collections of the Longyear Museum are an important resource for exhibitions and teaching, and for research by students and faculty.
Early acquisitions of the local archaeological collections of Herbert Bigford in 1959 and Walter Bennett in 1965 established the museum as an important repository of Iroquoian materials. Since that time, the Longyear Museum collections have grown to include archaeological and ethnographic art and artifacts from elsewhere in North America, Pre-Columbian Middle and South America, Africa, Oceania and Asia and Indonesia.
American Indian and Pre-Columbian Collection
American Indian and Pre-Columbian Collection

The Americas collections include more than 10,000 indigenous artifacts and art objects, from prehistoric stone tools to Peruvian pottery, from Plains Indian beadwork to Mohawk baskets. Of particular note is a large and distinguished collection of stone figures, masks, amulets and other objects from West Mexico. In recent years, the Longyear Museum has acquired substantial gifts of contemporary Native American art, including over five hundred original works on paper by twenty-one Canadian Indian and Metis artists. In addition, a small but important group of contemporary Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) objects has been acquired by gift and purchase.

African Collection
African Collection

The African materials of the Longyear Museum constitute the largest and most comprehensive repository of African art in Central New York. This is owing to a number of gifts, but especially a 2001 anonymous gift of African pottery and other objects, and a 2002 gift of nearly 2700 African sculptures from the estate of Herman Copen. More recent acquisitions have addressed gaps in the collections. The African holdings include works from every region of Africa and in many mediums such as stone, wood, brass, iron, clay and ivory as well as textiles, beadwork, and contemporary paintings.

Asian, Indonesian, and Oceanic Collection
Asian, Indonesian, and Oceanic Collection

The Longyear Museum has a number of works from indigenous cultures of the Pacific islands, as well as Asian and Indonesian objects. Gems of this collection include a bronze drum from the ancient Dongson culture and New Guinea ancestral boards. Recent acquisitions include gifts of 15th century ceramics from Thailand, Central Asian textiles, and Oceanic tapa cloths.

Contemporary Collection
Contemporary Collection

In addition to the Native American paintings and works on paper mentioned within the American Indian and Pre-Columbian Collections, the contemporary collections of the Longyear Museum include fifty prints and photographs by contemporary artists of Asian heritage; a group of mixed-media works on the subject of the Holocaust; works by artists exploring cross-cultural themes; a collection of prints dealing with social issues by the American artist Robert Cenedella; paintings by Haitian and Latin American artists; and other works that help to fulfill the Longyear Museum's distinct mission.