The Hood’s holdings of about 1,900 objects from Africa include works from all regions of the continent rendered in a variety of media, including wood, beads, stone, ceramics, paint, metal, textile, and ivory. Although Dartmouth College’s newly established museum first acquired a stuffed zebra from Africa in 1772, it was not until the first decades of the nineteenth century that material culture, mostly from ancient Egypt, entered the collection. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw an increased interest in sub-Saharan Africa, beginning with a gift of forty-eight objects from South Africa in 1885 by Josiah Tyler, missionary and son of Dartmouth College President Bennett Tyler.
Significant gifts made during the second half of the twentieth century greatly enhanced the collection in colonial-era sculpture from West and Central Africa. Among these pieces were around fifty sculptural works given by Evelyn A. and William B. Jaffe, Class of 1964H, during the 1960s and 1970s; almost two hundred brass castings, primarily used as body ornamentation, given by Arnold and Joanne Syrop in the 1980s and 1990s; and about eighty sculptures from the Harry A. Franklin Family Collection in the 1990s. Recent additions to the collection of sculptural works from East Africa further diversify the Hood’s collection of African art.
A completely new direction for the museum is represented by the development of a collection of contemporary works by African and African diasporic artists. Together with the collection of objects made within traditional contexts, these new additions reveal the great diversity of artistic expression, media, and aesthetics on the African continent from the northernmost to the southernmost regions and dating from approximately 2040 BCE to the present.
Last Updated: 5/15/07