Our permanent research collection consists of approximately 16,000 objects, most of which are ethnographic. Current strengths include holdings from the U.S. Southwest and the Pacific Islands, and basketry from California. Our searchable online database features the entire Anthropology collection, including digital images for every piece.
Included in the Academy’s Anthropology collection is a unique group of contemporary Navajo-style rugs. These rugs were woven not by Navajo Indians, but by an English couple, Margaret and Tony Shuffrey, who, upon their first visit to the American Southwest in 1980, immediately became enthralled by Navajo culture and the rugs for which the Navajo are internationally acclaimed. They subsequently taught themselves how to weave in the Navajo style, and over a twenty year span completed nearly 40 Navajo-style rugs. Their weavings were used to illustrate lectures about Navajo weaving and culture that they presented throughout England and Wales. Their collection garnered praise from Navajo weavers and traders alike, many of whom became close personal friends. This exhibit details the history of the collection’s creation and its ongoing importance for education and exhibition.