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University of Montréal

Founded in 1961, the collections (Americas, Africa, Oceania, Asia, Europe and Euro-American) were, in the main, put together during the 1960s and 1970s by a team of specialist researchers who were working in the department but with added input from overseas experts. Private donations were added to the collections from the late 1990s onwards.

The whole collection currently stands at 78 holdings representing nearly 3800 objects from the five continents dating from the late 19th century to the latter half of the 20th. They are predominantly made up of everyday objects that document modes of existence and domestic life, including social and ritual activities. The African and American holdings are particularly rich and many of them have been the subjects of publications.


The principle African collections record the lifestyles of the Bassaris of Senegal (Madeleine Gessain, Musée de l'Homme de Paris, 1963); the Bijogo of Guinea-Bissau (Danielle Gallois-Duquette, 1976); different groups from Ethiopie (Asen Balikci, 1969), and from Central Africa  (Louis Molet, 1965-1967; Daemen, 1968) and from Madagascar (Louis Molet, 1965).To the foregoing ethnographic collections, one can add objects donated over the last several years that were originally destined for the western art market or for foreign tourists, something that reveals another facet of the physical production of different West and Central African groups (Anne Boisvert, 1994; Jacques Dansereau, 2013).

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