Inter-University Research Institute Corporation National Institutes for the Humanities National Museum of Ethnology

The History of George Brown Collection

1917   George Brown passed away in Sydney, Australia. His will suggested that his collection was offered back to Barnard Castle.

George Brown's house in Sydney. His collection was exhibited in the room avobe(left=outside, middle=inside).

1921   George Brown Collection was sent from Sydney to Barnard Castle, Brown’s hometown.


And it had been kept at Dixon’s homestead.


1924   George Brown Collection was purchased by the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle.

1924   Pitt Rivers Museum obtained approx.60 artefacts of George Brown Collection from the Bowes Museum by exchange.
          The list is here.(PDF)

1954   King’s College (present Newcastle University) bought George Brown Collection from the Bowes Museum.

1974   The Hancock Museum (present Great North Museum: Hancock) bore managerial responsibility of the collection.

1984   The Hancock Museum held 'Special from the South Seas’ a selection from the George Brown Collection.

1986   The Hancock Museum sold aprox.3000 artefacts of George Brown Collection to National Museum of Ethnology, Japan.
            Nineteen ethnographic items were not allowed to be exported.
            Within the nineteen items, The Sainsbury Centre(University of East Anglia) purchased 6 items,
            City Museum and Art Gallery(Birmingham) 1 item and The British Museum 4 items.
            Some pieces of the original collection and related documentation are still kept at Discovery Museum.

1993   The George Brown Collection was displayed at the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, from 11 March to 31 May 1999,
           in a special exhibition 'Cultural Heritage of the South Pacific:The George Brown Collection'.