There are several thousand objects in the collection representing the areas of art, technology and material culture of a range of societies from all over the world. This diverse collection includes textiles, weapons, jewellery, tools, musical instruments, domestic and religious objects and decorative arts, predominantly collected before 1935. Hertford Museum no longer actively collects ethnography. The collection is representative of the ethos on which the museum was funded; to illustrate the culture of other societies for the people of Hertford.

Samurai Armour

There are two suits of armour that would have been used in Japan before 1868, collected around 1870. Most of the Japanese material culture in the collection was donated to the museum by the Right Reverend Walter Andrews, who was brother of the founding members. Walter Andrews went to Japan on missionary work, and became the bishop of Hokkaido.


Also known as a thumb piano, this is a musical instrument consisting of a wooden board to which staggered metal keys have been attached. It is also fitted with a resonator. This object was given to the museum in 1936. There are a number of musical instruments in the collection and can be found in our ethnography, social history and regimental collections.

Beaded Cloth back pouch

This beaded back pouch would have been made and used by the Northern Nguni peoples. Nguni peoples are pastoralists groups, ethnically part of the greater Bantu groups occupying much of the East and Southern parts of Africa. This pouch was given to the museum in 1922. The Museum has a number of beadwork objects collected over a 30 year period spanning a large geographical distance.

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