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African Collections Project

Banner image: Student Sarah Abdalla (left) inspects the hairstyle of an ancient ceramic figurine head from Ethiopia (Object ID 93.1264) alongside Postdoctoral Scholar Denise Lim (right) (2021).

The African Collections Project, active 2021-2022, improved Stanford's understanding of its African holdings while strengthening connections with African cultural institutions, Africanist scholars, and diasporic communities.

When the Stanford University Archaeology Collections performed our first complete inventory in 2018–2020, we discovered greater depth and variety in our African materials than expected. Reflecting critically on our curatorial practices, we also realized these materials have been underutilized because we knew so little about them.

The Stanford Archaeology Center welcomed Dr. Denise Lim as a 2021-2022 postdoctoral scholar for the African Collections Project. For SUAC, the African Collections Project inaugurates a new strategy of collections care, in which we invite an early career scholar to undertake professional networking and community engagement in concert with basic collections research, rather than after.