Virtual tour - Ethnography store

Take a virtual tour behind the scenes in the Great North Museum's Ethnography store

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Welcome to the Ethnography store. Ethnography is the study of people and cultures and the collections in this store are witnesses to different societies, cultural diversity and social change around the world. By studying items such as clothing, weapons and tools, we can begin to understand peoples’ history and their way of life.

There are over three and half thousand items in our Ethnographic collection. The origins of our objects reach back into the 1700s and are the collections of curious North Easterners who wanted to understand the wider world. These items would eventually find their way into the original Hancock Museum collections, either by sale or donation.

Some of our oldest objects include a small number of Polynesian items linked to the voyages of Captain James Cook.

World cultures

Image: a variety of spears in the Ethnography store

Throughout the 20th Century the Ethnographic collection continued to grow as the museum acquired material from round the world through donations from travellers, missionaries, scientists and explorers. All areas of the world are represented. These include rare items, from a sealskin Parka and a complete Inuit kayak, to Aboriginal objects and message tokens.

The collections are particularly strong in objects from the Oceanic Islands. Here treasures include a drum from the Austral Islands and a feather cape and helmet from Hawaii. We also look after African tribal objects, Japanese swords and armour and Chinese chopsticks and clothing.

Continue your journey

Click on the links below to take another virtual tour.