A Cultural Biography of the P.G. Black Collection of Pacific Islands Artifacts


ACLS Fellowship Program




The Buffalo Museum of Science holds the oldest collection in North America of Pacific Islands artifacts put together by a single person. This project puts the P.G. Black Collection in the economic, political, and cultural contexts of its creation and display. The collection provides important clues about initial encounters between Pacific Islanders and European traders, missionaries, and colonial officials during the late nineteenth century. In the 1940s, display of objects from the collection at museum exhibits promoted acceptance of the idea of Primitive Art in the US The project includes the composition of a brief nonacademic text in support of traveling and online virtual exhibits of the Black Collection.