One of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology’s great strengths, objects in the media of still photography, film, and sound recording, as well as paintings, prints, and drawings, are invaluable as these documentary forms supply the critical information that allows scholars to create knowledge from the Native-made artifacts.
The Museum's collection of still photographs consists of both original prints and negatives. The original prints include those of Edward Curtis, Timothy O’Sullivan, John Hillers, Carleton Watkins, and Felice Beato, as well as some unique copies, found nowhere else. The Museum's negatives comprise the largest and most comprehensive collection of ethnographic photographs of California Indians (ca. 3,500).
The Museum has the largest sound collection in an American anthropology museum. One of the largest and oldest ethnographic sound collections in the country, it is the largest and most comprehensive sound collection for California Indian song and language, and the third largest ethnographic wax-cylinder collection in America (2,713 items, produced 1901–38). There are also important holdings from Africa and Asia.
Probably the largest collection of research footage on North American Indians in the country. Most of the collection was formed by Samuel A. Barrett (first UC Berkeley anthropology doctorate in anthropology, 1908), on his NSF-funded American Indian Film Project (1960–65), yielding 362,569 feet of film from many tribes in the American West. The collection also includes important early (1920s) films from Bali and Siberia.
The Online Collections database of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology contains records for over 210,000 objects from our collections.
Click on image to the left or enter a keyword to start the search (opens new browser window).