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A university museum of archaeology and anthropology, showing many artifacts collected by Cambridge Scholars

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Captain Cook Collection
Chinese Teapots
Totem Pole
When the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology began in 1884, it only housed some local antiquities of Cambridgeshire, and a few artifacts from Polynesia that were donated to the museum. Over the years however, through donations from collectors and anthropological expeditions, the museum has amassed antiquities, ethnographic and archaeological relics from all over the world.

Various ancient altars and tombstones from the UK
The study of human sciences and nature became hugely important after famous names like Darwin revolutionized the way the human race thinks about itself. Thus the 19th century saw many anthropological expeditions all over the world to study human practices and history. Ironically many of these trips were carried out in collaboration with missionaries, and colonial officials. Of these trips the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology holds many of the objects collected by Cambridge scholars from countries spanning the globe.

Ancient Jewelry
One of these great explorers was Captain James Cook, who was ahead of his time and made three great voyages in the 1700s. He and his band of scientists traveled the world, purposefully to discover the practices and beliefs of people groups outside of Europe. Native peoples today often regard him very negatively, saying he was the first of many Western invaders. Cook did return however, with unparalleled knowledge of the places many travelers could never even imagine. The Museum now holds the rare collections of his trips; over 200 pieces from scores of countries. When you view them, you’re looking into a leap of knowledge in the history of human kind.
Inside the museum you will also see stunning artwork moved by questions of native history, politics and language. There are displays that explore the identity of all kinds of indigenous peoples. The luxurious teapots and ceramics of the Province of China are put on view, supposedly the best apparatus for brewing tea anywhere in the world! This museum is a place where the mysteries and diversities of our world are delved into; where the history of oceans and the celebration of countries on the other side of the globe take precedence over the answering of all our human questions.

African head
Visitor Information
The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday 10.30am to 4.30pm. Entrance is FREE. Tel: 01223 333 516

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