Retired Seton Hall University Librarian and Assistant Professor, Richard E. Stern recently donated a significant collection of African art and artifacts to the University. Stern acquired the objects when he was a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Liberia from 1969 to 1970. The donation includes more than sixty-five pieces of cloth – some hand-dyed by Stern – using traditional methods and natural materials such as indigo and cola nuts. Many pieces were hand-woven, including a small selection of Kente cloth from Ghana. Other hand-crafted objects include wooden masks and sculptures, cast metal figurines and beaded necklaces. “This donation is significant for Seton Hall University. The objects illuminate world cultures and artistic traditions unique to West Africa, while embodying the donor’s personal relationships to the people he met and places he traveled during his Peace Corps service. Stern’s personal recollections about the objects and the people connected with them are being preserved, providing a crucial layer of context for the collection. We could not be more appreciative.” stated Gallery Director Jeanne Brasile.
The collection amplifies the university’s Diversity Initiatives which celebrate a rich tapestry of global ideas and perspectives. Stern’s generous donation will expand Seton Hall’s collections overall, while augmenting existing collections of African art and artifacts including sculptures, paintings, photographs and prints. Presently, Collections Manager Laura Hapke is preparing the objects for exhibition by cataloguing each item and creating a safe storage environment for each, thereby ensuring access to this unique collection for generations of students, faculty, researchers and scholars.
The Walsh Gallery cares for and interprets Seton Hall University’s collections of material culture. In addition to the African art and artifacts the university collections include The Wang Fangyu Collection of Asian Art which spans over 3,500 years of cultural traditions from China, Japan, the Philippines, Korea, India and Vietnam; The Seton Hall University Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology which includes objects from North American cultures including the Leni Lenape, Paiute, Zuni, Pomo and Tlingit peoples as well as objects from South America, Asia and Europe; and The D’Argenio Collection of Coins and Antiquities which includes coins from ancient Etruscan, Greek, Roman and Byzantine cultures. Appointments to see the collections can be made by completing this form. A sampling of our collections can be viewed on Google Arts and Culture. The Walsh Gallery is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday—Friday and is located on the first floor of the Walsh Library. The gallery is free and open to the public.