The collection: Americas

Almost 1300 items make up this collection of material from the American continent.

The Americas collections are divided into the following geographic zones; The Pacific Rim, Northwest Coast, the Subarctic, the Plains, Southwest USA, Mexico, Central and South America and the Amazon.

In 2019, preparations are in place to transform the Americas displays to include themes about the challenges faced by indigenous peoples.

Objects of note include a 19th century sealskin parka (kamleika) from the Arctic, and colonial-styled leather coat from Mexico that was possibly made in the 18th century. It is unusual in that it likely highlights the relationship between Mexico and SE Asia.

Leather coat, Mexico

Leather coat with areas of fine embroidery of silk and metal thread. Mexico, 18th century. Donated in 1872 by E.B.Penny (Accession number E836).

There are examples of traditional clothing from Mexico and Guatemala. The collection also contains a small number of Pre-Columbian ceramics from Peru and material from the Amazon rainforest of Peru, Ecuador, Brazil and Guyana.

One unusual donation is a wooden arch lute that was said to have been acquired by James Aunger from Cartagena, Colombia. The arch lute (accession number E929) is Mende in appearance, and we believe highlights a strong connection to enslaved Africans there. However, the object’s story is currently unknown. A point has been made to display this item in the Americas gallery to reflect upon the city’s connection with the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Significant ceremonial regalia that was once owned by Blackfoot leader Chief Crowfoot is also cared for by RAMM. This was acquired by Cecil Denny around the time Treaty 7 was signed. The Museum is currently in discussions with Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park over a possible return.

Central and South America display case

These current public displays were revised in 2012. There are plans to modernise them.