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

The George Brown Exhibition at Minpaku

Special Exhibition. Cultural Heritage of the South Pacific: The George Brown Collection
Cover of Japanese catalogue Exhibition book
Front cover of the Japanese book that accompanied the exhibition.

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

Use of “storage-like display” for the exhibition

Japanese Booklet accompanying the exhibition

The National Museum of Ethnology has about 340,000 artefacts in its collections. Of these, only about 11,000 are displayed at any one time. That is, only about six percent of them are seen by the public due to limited display space.

Even for this special exhibition “Cultural Heritage of the South Pacific: The George Brown Collection”, we could not display all 3,000 items in our part of Brown's collection. However about 2,000 items were put on display. To display even this number of items, we had to use movable storage shelves and exhibited them in a “storage-like display”. This was the first time that we used this style for one of our collections in a special exhibition.

Brown collected various kinds of ethnographical artefacts related to life in the South Pacific over half a century, from the 1860’s. They represent precious cultural assets of the region that no longer exist. We hope that visitors to the exhibition were able to imagine the life and culture of the area in the nineteenth century.