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Oceania

The Museum has objects from all over Oceania, encompassing Melanesia, Australia, New Zealand and many Pacific islands such as the Solomon Islands and Marquesas Islands.

Photograph showing a drum lying on one side. It is tubular with an ornamental carving at one end, and a handle on the topSignificant collections include Harry Moore Dauncey’s Papua New Guinean material, the Carwithen Collection of more than 30 wooden clubs, mostly from Fiji, and nearly 40 Australian items, including six Tasmanian necklaces.

Papua New Guinea

The Museum’s biggest and most significant Oceanic collection comes from Papua New Guinea (PNG) in Melanesia. There are nearly 600 objects in total, including body ornaments and clothing, weapons and tools, ceremonial and magical items, objects used in music and dance, and for betel-chewing and tobacco-smoking. Plymouth’s collections from PNG are over a century old, and PNG has changed a lot since then. Visit our Papua New Guinea page to find out more about the objects that we have, the people who collected them, and what life was like in PNG at the time they were collected.

Our world cultures e-catalogue also has information on a selection of the objects, including a figure from Easter Island, a ceremonial armlet from Papua New Guinea, and a barkcloth from Samoa.