Australia and Oceania

Oceanian collections of the National Museum in Szczecin amount to ca. one thousand objects. They include, above all, exhibits from Papua New Guinea and a small Australian collection. Most of them were obtained on account of cooperation with scientists. Other sources were private collections and antique shops, as well, as donations of saling expeditions participants. The Museum owns also 57 exhibits from pre-war Szczecin museums, e.g.: log slit drum from Admiralty Islands and, originating from the same territory, spears with obsidian heads. Most of these objects are related to Georg Buschan, Szczecin’s doctor and exoticism enthusiast.

The Museum owes most of its collection to the cooperation with Dr. Maria Wrońska-Friend and her husband Anthony Friend, began in 1981. Thanks to them the collections were enriched by ca. 400 various relics, including as unique exhibits, as large, double war shields carved with the use of stone axes (atkom), carved and polychrome house entrances (amitung) or large spears for shark, turtle or flying fish hunting. They include also a collection of carved gopi tablets of magical destination, male and female costumes, numerous decorations and characteristic transporting bilum bags, ceramics, hunting and war weapons, rattan armour, suras needles made of bat wing bones, spoons, cassowary bone awls and knives, ougie-nakan necklaces made of bat teeth and colorful beads, as well, as an outrigger boat. Most of the collection originates from the neighbourhood of Telefomin (borderland between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia), Dr. M. Wrońska-Friend's constant accommodation, and from the areas on middle Sepik River (East Sepik province, Papua New Guinea).

In 1995 another large collection (200 objects) from that area was obtained. It was gathered by a couple of ethnologists - Monika and Mieczysław Strzechowski. Beside artworks and everyday use items from very Papua New Guinea, it includes also objects from Solomon Islands, French Polynesia and Australia. Among the relics there are a prehistoric stone sculpture from the nieghbourhood of Mount Hagen, carved djembe drums and great ceremonial flutes from areas on the Sepik River, decorative hooks for hanging bilum bags and human skulls, ceremonial axes, numerous ornaments etc.

An interesting – not only as far, as its creator is concerned – collection is the one obtained in late 1970s from Klara Godlewska – Prof. Aleksander Lech Godlewski’s widow. The Museum obtained the proffessor’s archive together with 27 objects, discussed and published by him for numerous times (including stone tools, painted tapa made of inside layer of bark and Tiki god’s stone head from Marquesas Islands).

The Museum also purchased single objects from individuals in antique shops. One of the most precious is a skull mask from New Britain (late 19th century) purchased from a private person in 1993. Masks of this type are presently scarce. They used to be made of facial parts of  human skulls, decorated with polychromy and clay mixed with resin. The production of these masks was prohibited by German colonial authorities as early, as in 1880s.

The Museum has also obtained single donations from participants of sailing expeditions such as Terra Incognita and Victoria 2000, which enriched the collections by tapa, raffia skirts and sculptures from Tonga Islands.

The Australian collection consists of ca. 40 objects. They include two paintings made on Eucalyptus bark, purchased from Przemysław Burchard in 1980, two so called dot paintings obtained from Ryszard Bednarowicz and a collection of contemporary boomerangs and sculptures.