Inventory lists

Unedited excerpt from the data base of Museum der Kulturen Basel (MKB)

Numerous people from societies of origin, researchers, activists, and other interested parties have expressed their wish for comprehensive and easy insight into the holdings of ethnographic museums, as far as this is technically possible. In answer to their request, MKB is for now publishing lists containing information concerning inventory numbers, object designations, origins, dates of receipt, and modes of acquisition – that is, central inputs from its database – until an online collection is made available.

The lists contain unedited data and notes from all periods of the museum’s history. During cataloguing as well as during transcription to the database, errors, inconsistencies, omissions occurred inevitably. To this day, differing scientific interests and emphases are reflected in the entries. Contents, geographical ascriptions, and terms used are constantly being revised on the basis of ongoing research. However, considering the volume of 340,000 collection items, this process will certainly take some time.

A few notes on usage
The collections are ordered by geographical categories. However, it may occasionally occur that the geographical origin of an object does not tally with the ascribed category.

The lists are compiled according to inventory numbers. These correspond only approximately with the time of acquisition. The lists also contain objects which once used to be held by the museum but are no longer existent there, or at least not fully, owing to various reasons such as an exchange with other museums, the cessation of a permanent loan, restitution to the country of origin, or the decay of organic material.

By far not all objects held in the collections have been photographed. Where there is no photograph of an object, we have often included the respective file card. The pictures include field and work photos as well as professional images. Regarding photographs of culturally sensitive objects, we have done our best to remove them from the lists.

This dataset is published under the licence CC BY 4.0. The contained data may be used but they must bear the reference "Museum der Kulturen Basel, as of 2022".

Most of the entries are written in German. This is the translation of the introductory text that precedes the lists.

Please note that many designations in this unedited list have been identified as faulty, outdated or as racist abuse since the inventories' original conception.