This collection represents the crafts, arts, traditions, beliefs, and practices of living cultures around the world
The world ethnology collection of approximately 5,000 objects derives from cultures outside the Americas. Objects in the world ethnology collection come from every corner of the earth, although three subcollections represent the most significant holdings.
African collections. The 1,500 African objects center on Botswana, which was the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s zoological-ecological field collecting area in the late 1960s. Culture unit collections of some 400 objects represent a virtual cultural inventory of mid-20th-century lifeways of Botswana’s San (best represented), Bantu, Tswana, Herero, Hambukushu, Bayei, and Basubiya peoples. A secondary collecting focus is the Democratic Republic of the Congo with 187 field-collected objects from the Ndengese, Luba, Kuba, Songe, and several other cultures.
Asian collections. The Southeast Asian collection of more than 1,000 objects is the Museum’s most significant world ethnographic holding, outside of the Native American collections. Collected during the last 40 years, it represents a systematic, documented holding from the Hmong, Mien, Akha, Lahu, Lisu, and Karen hill tribes of the northern margins of Thailand, Laos, Burma, Vietnam, and southwestern China. Small groups of Asian objects illustrate scattered peoples and traits of Han (China), aboriginal Taiwanese, Japanese, South Asian (India, Bangladesh), Indonesian, and Philippine Indigenous cultures.
Oceanic and Australian collections. About 700 objects make up this smallest and perhaps most diverse Denver Museum of Nature & Science ethnology holding. It illustrates the main materials, technologies, forms, and designs used during the early to mid-20th century by the peoples of Pacific Ocean islands from Hawaii to Papua New Guinea and the continent of Australia.