In the American Museum of Natural History in New York City lies a collection of 30 mokomokai, or the severed, tattooed heads of Maori tribesmen. The collection itself is quite interesting, however, the story of how it got to the museum is even more so.
In the 1860s, Major General Horatio Gordon Robley served in the British Army during the New Zealand Land Wars.
While there, he became fascinated by the local tribesman, the Maori and their tradition of facial tattoos. Being a talented illustrator, he began sketching the tattoos and eventually published a book on the subject.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE | WASHINGTON, DC
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (Website).