In 1991 Drs. William and Jane Bertrand donated 151 pieces of African art from Zaire to the Center. Because of subsequent donations of art and textiles the Bertrand collection now totals almost 500 pieces. The Center’s collection also includes a donation of 37 pieces of West African art from Dr. Pascal Imperato, 39 pieces of African and Pre-Columbian art from Mrs. Ida Kohlmeyer, 34 pieces of decorative art from Ghana from Mr. William Setoon, and a collection of 38 African textiles from Mrs. Gail Povey. Also included in the Center’s collection are numerous pieces from anonymous donors.

The Center’s collection is presently on display in the campus library and multipurpose center. Up until recently the rest of the collection was housed in the Center’s archives. Now a Collections storage room has been established that is an accessible space for research and documentation. The collection is therefore available to students, faculty, scholars, and interested visitors to the SUNO campus. Dr. Bertrand’s initial goal for the collection was as a didactic tool. And as it exists the collection, along with the Center’s, archives is a great resource for undergraduate students in the arts, museum studies, other humanities, and social sciences.

Included in the collection are initiation masks from both West and Central African cultures, divination figures, Ethiopian headrests, a variety of examples of Mbuti bark cloth and baskets, a number of ceremonial swords and weapons, numerous pots, jars, and other utilitarian objects, and an assortment of royal arts from West and Central Africa.

For more information on the Center’s African art collection or to set up an appointment to view or research the collection please contact Sarah Clunis in Collections storage at 504-286-5116.