Report of the Curator of the Pitt-Rivers Museum for the year ending 31 July 1936

Alterations and improvements have been carried out in many parts of the Museum. Some exhibition cases have been added in the Court, for the better display of series. A row of sheds was erected along the annexe building at the back of the Museum, and this has enabled me to clear a semi-underground room, below the Curator’s office, to serve as a sorting-room and store-room. This relieves to a small extent the congestion due to lack of space, but lack of adequate space and proper equipment still remains a very serious factor, which militates against the Museum functioning as it should do and renders the whole work doubly difficult.

The death of Mr. E. S. Thomas, who had served as Assistant Curator for about 12 years, on 9 June 1936, has caused a serious gap on the Staff. During his tenure of the post he had acquired a knowledge of the collections and the necessary routine of dealing with them, and his loss is a serious one, particularly since the Museum finances have not enabled me to have a second assistant who could have been trained and have become qualified to fill the vacancy. Cataloguing work and much of the essential routine work have had to be stopped for the time being, and that work must necessarily accumulate, greatly to the detriment of the Department. Without an adequate staff it is impossible to administer the Museum properly and so maintain its prestige.

The courses of lectures for the Diploma in Anthropology were delivered throughout the year. Mr. T.K. Penniman lectured on my behalf during Michaelmas Term 1935, owing to my enforced absence through illness. Seven students attended the courses. During Hilary Term I gave a course of lectures for the Colonial Office to the African Services Students, and one to the Malayan Services Students.

A large number of schools have visited the Museum for purposes of study; also parties of students organized by the Board of Education. Many persons engaged in research work have made use of the Museum collections and have been helped in connexion with their work.

Accessions have been numerous and important. In consequence of the death of the Assistant Curator it has not been possible to prepare the usual list of accessions in time to append it to this Report. The publication of the list for 1935 must be held over until next year’s Report is presented. Special reference may, however, be made to the valuable donations of specimens received from Major and Miss D. Powell-Cotton, Dr. J.H. Hutton, and Lady Burrows.

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Supported by the John Fell OUP Research Fund


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