The collections department of a museum is a fascinating place to explore. Imagine a giant room (or rooms!) filled with specimens of all kinds. Museum collections are often used by scientists for research, and due to limited exhibit space, many of these specimens never make it on display. Going through the collection of a museum isn’t something that most museums offer to all guests, so many items remain to be “undiscovered treasures.” You truly never know what you might find!
In the midst of the construction that the Burpee is currently going through, I still was able to take the time to look through the collections department of the museum. There are so many interesting pieces that have not been on display for a very long time, and some have never been featured in an exhibit at all. This isn’t uncommon for most museums, but I thought it would fascinating to give everyone a chance to see some of Burpee’s undiscovered treasures.
Every month, starting in November, we’ll launch a blog about a specimen that we’ve picked from collections to put on display for the month. You’ll be able to visit the museum and see in person the item that you may otherwise would not be able to see.
After spending lots of time in the collections department, and after plenty of research, we decided on ceremonial masks from Indonesia. These two were part of a collection of six.
Though we don’t know what these exact masks were used for, we do know that they came from Indonesia. We did a little bit of research of ceremonial masks from Indonesia to give you a basic idea of their history.
Indonesian tribes commonly used masks in ceremonies to either ward off evil spirits or to celebrate a particular occasion. It has been said that in Indonesia, the artist who created the mask would consult divine forces for guidance in the sculpting process. The result is a direct transmission of this divine force into the mask. The decor on the masks often included colorful paints as well as real animal hide or hair (the mask on the right, for example).
So come on into the museum to see our masks starting on November 2, and running through the end of the month. Tell us you saw this on the blog!
Keep checking back every month for our new Undiscovered Treasure!