Our educational Teaching Collection can be a part of your classroom! Our one-of-a-kind lending library of objects offers truly hands-on experiences. Since its inception, access to touchable and teachable art objects has been an important tool to supplement the mission of this museum. Founded by Warren M. Robbins, the National Museum of African Art began as a private educational institution in 1964 with the inaugural vision to promote cross-cultural understanding through its collections and programs.
The museum’s teaching collection represents the diverse arts of Africa with more than 1,000 objects, acquired through purchase, gifts from private collectors, former Peace Corps members, former and visiting ambassadors, and de-accessions from the permanent collection. Today, the teaching collection features strong holdings in carved masks; hand-woven, stamped, factory-printed, and dyed textiles; musical instruments; woven baskets alongside weaving implements; currency; stools; headrests; jewelry and adornments; and more.
The teaching collection has aspired to be a unique lending library of objects for use by its curatorial, education, and docent teams. The African Art on the Go! program is one way we are sharing this collection with an ever-broader audience and continuing Warren Robbins’s enduring educational vision for the museum. For more information about how to integrate this unique resource into your classroom, email us at NMAfAEducation@si.edu.