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Expedition Collections

Mammalogist Herbert Lang and his assistant James P. Chapin collected and documented zoological, botanical, and anthropological collections and produced painted and photographic images of the natural and human environment. The Anthropology collection that resulted from the Congo Expedition includes carvings made of wood and ivory, incised gourds, bark cloth, metalworking and musical instruments.
American Anthropologist Frederick Starr joined the missionary/explorer Samuel Verner on a collecting expedition to the Congo from 1905-1906. He collected nearly 5,000 artifacts including musical instruments, shields, baskets, masks, stools and games that have become part of the Museum's collection of material culture from the Congo region.
Berthold Laufer, who would become one of the most distinguished sinologists of his generation, led the Jacob H. Schiff expedition to China where he was to make a comprehensive ethnographic collection and to conduct scholarly research on the history and culture of a sophisticated people that had not yet experienced the industrial transformation. Laufer made an extinsive collection of representative objects used in daily life, agriculture, folk religion, medicine, and crafts.
The anthropologists Berthold Laufer, Waldemar Jochelson, Waldemar Bogoras conducted ethnographic research and made collections in Siberia, Manchuria, and on Sakhalin Island in Asia. On the American side of the Bering Strait, their colleagues Franz Boas, George Hunt, John Swanton, and Harlan Smith studied and collected among the Northwest Coast tribes. Directed by Franz Boas, this expedition was financed by Museum president Morris K. Jesup.
Carl Lumholtz, the Norwegian anthropologist and photographer, did field research in Mexico on three AMNH Expeditions in the 1890s. During his 5 years of travel by mule along the 900-mile long Sierra Madre Occidental he studied several northwestern Mexican tribes. At the turn of the last century, he was the foremost authority on these tribes. He published his findings with excellent photographs and drawings in a two-volume set, Unknown Mexico, in 1902.
Otto Finsch, a German ornithologist, collected 1,200 objects during two expeditions to the Melanesian islands of New Guinea, New Britain and New Ireland, and to the Caroline Islands, Gilbert Islands, and Marshall Islands. Finsch also compiled an extensive archive which includes over 3,000 manuscript pages, photographs, drawings, and watercolor paintings.