Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas Records
Scope and Contents Note
The Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas (AOA) Records, the bulk of which is dated 1984 to 2001, consist of correspondence, exhibit and programming materials for exhibits such as Intelligence of Forms: An Artist Collects African Art, Native American Art from Conception Abbey Collection, and Inventing the Southwest: The Fred Harvey Company and Native American Art, as well as departmental reports, photographs, and other miscellaneous materials. The bulk of this collection pertains to events which took place in the department under David Binkley as curator and department head before his departure in 1999.
- 1965, 1974-2001
- Majority of material found within 1984-2001
Restrictions on Access
Some correspondence, notes, and loan requests in Series II containing object values are restricted. The “Minority Communities” surveys in Series IV are partially restricted, and the “De-Accession Binders” in Series VI are restricted. Only staff may view these materials. NAGPRA “Ahayu: da” (Zuni War God) repatriation materials in Series VII are specifically restricted to American Indian Arts Department curatorial staff.
Conditions Governing Use Note
Notification of intent to publish, quote, or cite archival materials is required. Contact the archives via https://nelson-atkins.org/library/.
Biographical / Historical Note
The Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas (AOA) has gone through various name changes over the years, beginning as the Department of Native Arts in 1957. Assistant Director Ralph “Ted” Coe unofficially took over for G.F. (Franklin) Crabtree after he departed from his role as assistant curator of Native Arts in 1964 to deal in pre-Columbian art. Under Coe, the department became known as “Primitive Arts” (also “Ethnological Arts” in some later annual reports) for many years. In 1977, when Coe was appointed as museum director, he was also officially appointed as the curator of Primitive Arts until he left the museum in 1982. In 1983, Dr. Mary Jo Arnoldi took over as assistant curator for the department, which then became briefly named the African, Oceanic, and the New World Cultures Art Department -- again changing to the Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, when David Binkley took over as assistant curator in 1985. The department retained this name for many years until Binkley’s departure for the Smithsonian in 1999, when the decision was made to divide it into the Department of African Art and the Department of American Indian Art. Curators of the department before and during the departmental divide in 2001-2002 included the following:
Curators of the department before and during the departmental divide in 2001-2002 included the following:
Ted Coe: Acting Curator (1964-1977); Officially appointed as Museum Director and Curator of Primitive Arts (then Ethnological Arts) (1977-1982)
Dr. Mary Jo Arnoldi: Assistant Curator in charge of African, Oceanic, and the New World Cultures Art Department (1983-1984)
David Binkley: Associate Curator for the Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas (1985-1993); Curator of the Department of African, Oceanic, and Native American Art (1993-1999)
Joyce Youmans: Curatorial Assistant (1998-2002); Assistant Curator (2002)
Dr. Elisabeth Cameron: Associate Curator/Department Head (1999-2001)
3.84 Linear Feet (In 3 record center cartons, 1 small clamshell box, and 1 legal case.)
Language of Materials
The Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas Records contain correspondence, reports, program/exhibit materials, object photographs, newspaper clippings, and other miscellaneous materials. The bulk of these records document the activities of the department from 1984 to 2001, before its division into the Department of African Arts and the Department of Native American Arts in the early 2000s with the departure of longtime curator, David Binkely.
This collection is organized into six series: Correspondence, 1984-2001 (Series I); Exhibition Files, 1989-2001 (Series II); Program Files, 1986-1996 (Series III); General and Administrative Files, 1983-2000 (Series IV); Research Files, 1965-1993 (Series V); Object Files, 1992-1997 (Series VI); NAGPRA Files, 1989-2002 (Series VII).
Immediate Source of Acquisition Note
Transfer; accession numbers associated with this collection are…
Additions to the collection are not anticipated.
- Finding Aid of the Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas Art Records, RG 11
- Prepared by Christain Hartman
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Archives Repository
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Kansas City MO 64111 United States