Meteorites provide invaluable clues to the origin and evolution of our solar system. The National Meteorite Collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is one the largest and most complete museum-based collections in the world. While the collection contains examples of every type of meteorite, it is particularly strong in iron meteorites. Iron meteorites come from the cores of ancient asteroids destroyed by impacts that reveal their once-molten cores and liberate pieces that eventually fall to Earth.
Striking Iron features iron artworks made by talented blacksmiths working in Africa south of the Sahara. Currently, there is no evidence that sub-Saharan blacksmiths worked with meteoric iron. In northern Africa, however, a meteoritic amulet and beads were found in ancient Egyptian tombs, and a camel charm made of meteoritic iron was created by an Egyptian blacksmith likely working in the late 19th or early 20th century. Some local populations in Namibia have also fashioned tools from meteoritic iron.