Content

Anna Nadolska-Styczyńska, Missionary Museums in:

Anthropos, page 163 - 170

Anthropos, Volume 115 (2020), Issue 1, ISSN: 0257-9774, ISSN online: 0257-9774, https://doi.org/10.5771/0257-9774-2020-1-163

Browse Volumes and Issues: Anthropos

Bibliographic information
PDF download Citation download Share
ANTHROPOS 113.2018: 395 – 422 Abstract. – The once more-or-less exclusively pastoral Todas of the Nilgiri Mountains in South India still retain vibrant beliefs in gods and goddesses they say once lived among them but thereafter became mountains; they tell also of ancestors who were once living Todas but subsequently became divinities. Beyond such indigenous convictions, Todas have absorbed a plethora of Hindu beliefs and ritual practices. Christian ideology has been propagated among Todas, with foreign-led Christian missionaries succeeded in establishing a breakaway Toda Christian community. But notwithstanding the many divergent sources of Toda religious ideology, the predominant and most public display of Toda ritual activity (apart from among Christian Todas) still centres on their unique sacred dairying cult, despite the rapid decline in the importance of buffaloes in the community’s modern-day economic life. This, together with their exclusively Toda deities and culture heroes seems to suggest a unique ethnic religion, frequently categorized as “non-Hindu.” But demonstrably Indic (therefore, if only loosely, “Hindu”) principles permeate Toda ritual activity. Most notable are the concepts of hierarchy and purity and those of prescribed ritual avoidance coupled with required ritual cooperation. In sum, Toda religion – like the Toda community itself – is at once unique and, at the same time, thoroughly Indic. [South India, Nilgiri Mountains, Toda] Anthony Walker, an Oxford-trained social anthropologist, retired as Professor of Anthropology at the University of Brunei Darussalam in 2011 and now lives in Kandy, Sri Lanka. His peripatetic career has included teaching positions at the Science University of Malaysia in Penang, the National University of Singapore, The Ohio State University, and the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. – He began his, still-ongoing, field studies with the Todas in 1962 and has also conducted long-term field research (since 1966) on the Tibeto-Burman speaking Lahu peoples of the Yunnan-Indochina borderlands. – For his major publications on the Todas see References Cited. The Todas believe in their Goddess Thekershi (Tö·kisy1). They worship Goddess Thekershi for protection during their eternal (perhaps “mortal” was intended) existence and they also worship God Ayan (Ö·n) to protect them after death. The Todas do not observe idol worship. Todas worship light, fire, mountains, trees, rivers, sky, sun, and moon, which are believed to be the major creations of their Goddess Thekershi.2 1 Introduction In his recent book “Religion. An Anthropological Perspective” (2015: 9), Professor Homayun Sidky, my much esteemed former PhD student at The Ohio State University, claims: “no single definition has been able to capture the entire picture” of the religious phenomenon. “For this reason”, Sidky writes, “some argue that religion is best thought of as a multifaceted phenomenon with many interpenetrating dimensions as opposed to being viewed as a unitary occurrence.” This indeed is my interpretation of religion as understood and practised by the once more-or-less exclusively pastoral Toda community 1 The orthography of Toda in this essay follows that of Murray Emeneau (1957: 19; 1984: 5–49), except that I have added hyphenation where I feel this might assist non-specialists with pronunciation, hence my To·r-θas and Töw-fił̣y, where Emeneau has To·rθas and Töwfił̣y. (Note, however, that I do not add hyphenation to Toda words when quoting directly – as I do frequently – from Emeneau’s various works. Further assistance with the pronunciation of Toda words rendered in Emeneau’s transcription can be had from Tarun Chhabra’s “A Guide for the Transliteration of Toda” in his 2015 book “The Toda Landscape,” pp. xxxvii–xliii. 2 From the pen of Pöḷ-xe·n, son of Mut-iŝky – his name anglicized as Pellican (n. d.) – a member of Ka·s patriclan, first president of the Nilgiri Toda Uplift Society, high school graduate and literate both in Tamil and English. The Diverse Faces of Toda Religion Anthony R. Walker ANTHROPOS 115.2020: 163–170 Missionary Museums A Challenge and a Dilemm for Anthropologists Anna Nadolska-Styczyńska Abstract. – The article addresses missionary ethnographic col‐ lections, with a particular focus on Polish museums. It aims at presenting works and profiles of those museums, considering their origin and underlying concepts. The author discusses the contemporary problems of these institutions, paying close at‐ tention to the specific character of their collections. The author addresses the question whether these frequently criticized mu‐ seums and collections have actually lost their raison d’être in the 21st century, and whether they should be primarily associ‐ ated with European colonial interference and the destruction of non-European cultures, as well as with outdated museology. The author further argues that missionary museums undoubted‐ ly require a radical rethinking of their mission and character, but they still preserve their value, especially for comparative ethnographic research and popularization of the idea of inter‐ culturality. [Poland, mission museums, Catholic missionary so‐ cieties, museology] Anna Nadolska-Styczyńska, PhD, ethnologist, museologist, Assistant Professor at the Department of Ethnology and Cultur‐ al Anthropology (Institute of Culture Studies, Faculty of Hu‐ manities) at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (Thorn), Poland. – Head of the Department of Folk Culture of non-European Countries at the Archeological and Ethnograph‐ ic Museum in Łódź, Poland (1988-2003). – Head of the De‐ partment of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at the Nico‐ laus Copernicus University in Toruń (2015 to present). – Cura‐ tor of several exhibitions devoted to non-European cultures. – Author of numerous articles on the history non-European ethnographic collections and museums in Poland. E-mail: nadolska@umk.pl Introduction Although missionary museums – containing pri‐ marily non-European collections – have many en‐ thusiasts among Polish visitors, they also have a large group of convinc critics and opponents. The first ones mp asize their particular niche character as well as the diversity and originality of collections that make them distinct from other ethnographic museums. The latter ones point to the supposedly outdated character of these institu‐ tions, their lack of a consistent museological con‐ cept and a rather poor sci ntific documentation of exhibited ite s. Another exampl of serious criti‐ cism is the coloni l origi of these collections and their promotion of a particular exoticism. Anyo e familiar with at least a few miss onary mus ums will probably admit hat these pinions, including the critical ones, are – by and large – valid. The que tion whether these collections have lost thei raison d’être in the 21st century is there‐ ore legitimate. However, should they be asso iat‐ ed primarily with Euro ean coloni l interference, destruction of non-European cultures, imposition of various forms of Christianity and European lifestyle, as well as with certain outdated museo‐ logical concepts? The author’s def nitive answer is no. The aim of the article is to present the work and character of missionary museums, considering their roots and the ideas that in pired their founders. Following general re arks, I shall focus on the collections exhibited and stored in the mis‐ sion houses of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) in Poland For th pu pose of this wo k, I use historical sources and results of museumbased research, including my own observations Anthropos 115.2020 gathered both as a visitor and scientist cooperating with one of such museums. I also draw on unpub‐ lished material preserved at the Archive of the Polish Province of the SVD and the archives of the Missionary and Ethnographic Museum in Pieniężno, Poland. Missions and Collecting It is commonly known that missionaries of various Christian creeds appointed to work abroad usually receive a corresponding professional formation which is not limited only to theological and disci‐ plinary matters. Adepts of missionary seminaries also gain certain knowledge about diversity and cultural specificity of the regions of their future missionary assignment. Father Krystian Traczyk SVD, discussing the nature of Polish missionary and ethnographic church collections, summed up this idea as follows: “[...] the basic condition for fruitful missionary work is to understand culture of other nations, learning about social structures and customs, ethi‐ cal systems and religious views, as well as their history and present-day problems” (Traczyk 1980 : 1). It is worth to point to the fact that the same idea was expressed in one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council II: “Whoever in‐ tends to go to another nation should respect his na‐ tional heritage, language and customs” (Ad gentes 1986: 432). Furthermore, Traczyk also emphasizes the achievements of missionaries in the field of ethnography, the emergence of scientific institutes specialized in these areas of research, numerous publications of their authorship and the impor‐ tance of missionary exhibitions and collections. He states in this context: “The simplest but most attractive fruit of that work are museums and mis‐ sionary-ethnographic exhibitions that enjoy a con‐ siderable interest, especially in Western Europe” (Traczyk 1981: 187). Two museological aspects can be identified in Traczyk’s statement – the ethnographic and the missionary. In the first place, the exhibitions target future missionaries as well as people interested in non-European cultures and missionary work.1 As such, they serve the purpose of popularisation of ethnographic perspectives along with the mission‐ 1 Similarly, Ch. Wingfield (2017) discusses various types of missionary museums, including those located outside Euro‐ pe. ary idea.2 This topic was discussed for example by Tanja Holthausen in her article on collections il‐ lustrating the history of missions. She believes that collections in mission houses should never be interpreted in isolation from their location and the context in which they were created (: 53. Holthausen also states that they were not intended for scientific purposes but primarily for making people familiar with missionary objectives - hence their ambivalent character that is today being com‐ monly recognized as “outdated.” It is worth mentioning that the history of mis‐ sionary collections is in fact the history of non- European ethnographic collections in general: some of the first “exotic” collections in Europe containing items from the Americas or Africa had missionary origin, in the sense that missionaries contributed significantly to their establishment and development. In this context, the opinions of those who question the role of missionaries in the pro‐ cess of emergence of ethnographic museums in Europe are, in fact, off-target. One should there‐ fore be cautious in accepting certain negative statements about missionary contributions to ethnography. Indeed, certain authors do insist on a careful, individual approach when analysing par‐ ticular collections, documents and artefacts (Cor‐ bey and Weener 2015: 4). I do not wish to elaborate on the ideological, colonial side of the issue, as this area has been al‐ ready widely discussed. Authors rightly con‐ demned cases of ruthless acquisition of “native” artefacts by force or deception, and practices aimed at imposing new, unknown and unwanted elements of European culture on the “converted.”3 Other studies mention instances of close coopera‐ tion between missionaries and colonial administra‐ tion or devastating ethnographic artefacts as in‐ struments of the “Evil” related to paganism. On the other hand, it should be stated that there have been a number of skilled researchers among missionaries – individuals interested in other cul‐ 2 The discussion concerning missionary museums spans sev‐ eral years. See, for example, Schwab (2017), in which the author addresses the concept of Museum auf der Hardt der Archiv - und Museumsstiftung der VEM (Vereinte Evange‐ lische Mission) from Wuppertal and emphasizes the role of mission archives and historical resources of missionary work. He argues that what is relevant is not only what the missionaries have gathered, but also how, and in what condi‐ tions they have worked. 3 Colonization was often preceded by missionary presence, in‐ cluding the role of missionaries as explorers. See, for in‐ stance, Tańczuk (2019: 123 f.). In addition, Ch. Wingfield (2012) discusses the history and nature of selected mission‐ ary collections. 164 Anna Nadolska-Styczynska Anthropos 115.2020 tures who were trying to learn, understand, and describe the peoples encountered or chosen.4 The well-known names of David Livingstone, Fr. Paul Joachim Schebesta SVD and Fr. Wilhelm Schmidt SVD are only few to mention here. As for Polish missionary researchers of Africa, one needs to name Fr. Henryk Zimoń SVD or Fr. Jacek Jan Pawlik SVD. Fr. Alojzy Kaspruś SVD was active in Melanesia and Fr. Teofil Chodzidło in Asia. It is also worth noting that members of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) have been well prepared for academic pursuits – the founder of the order, Fr. Arnold Janssen, put emphasis on the acquisi‐ tion of knowledge in the fields that were of key importance for missionary service: in addition to theology, biblical studies, liturgy, canon law, members were to be trained in such areas as lin‐ guistics, ethnology and religious studies.5 In addi‐ tion, the Society runs a number of schools and col‐ leges across the globe (South America, Papua New Guinea, Japan and Taiwan) as well as scien‐ tific institutes, such as “Anthropos” and “Monu‐ menta Serica” (Zimoń 1980: 212–223). Museums and Missionary Collections in Poland As stated above, missionary collections had exist‐ ed well before the cited decrees of the Second Vat‐ ican Council. Non-European collections were cre‐ ated in missionary houses of particular religious orders and served, primarily, the purpose of mis‐ sionary formation. Many of those artefacts eventu‐ ally found the way to state museums. The largest and probably the most significant museum related to the SVD is the Ethnological Museum at the Vatican.6 It opened in 1927 in the premises of the Lateran Palace in Rome, and was subsequently integrated into the Vatican Museums in 1973. The Lateran collection consisted of about 100,000 objects that had been displayed during the Missionary Exhibition of 1925.7 The curator of the 4 Ethnographic and photographic materials gathered by mis‐ sionaries and their artistic standards are addressed by Cor‐ bey and F. K. Weener (2015). 5 Studies that were published in the first half of the 20th cen‐ tury are important sources. Still, postcolonial analyses domi‐ nate the discussion today, and they frequently point to the ethnocentric character of those earlier studies. Nonetheless, one should keep in mind the specific historical and ideo‐ logical contexts in which those works emerged. See, for ex‐ ample, Said (2003). 6 Since 2010, the official name of the institution is the “Vati‐ can Ethnological Museum.” 7 The exhibits were finally located in the Lateran Palace at the “Museo Missionario Etnologico.” Tańczuk (2019) analyzes exhibition – and later a long-standing director of the museum – was Fr. Wilhelm Schmidt SVD, the founder of the journal Anthropos (1906) and one of the most identifiable representatives of the his‐ torical (“culture circle”) school in ethnology (Hen‐ ninger1980: 10). It is worth noting that the success of the Vatican exhibition, and opening of the mu‐ seum encouraged the idea of creating a similar in‐ stitution in Poland – in Cracow or Czestochowa – but the concept failed to materialize for a variety of reasons (Traczyk 1981: 196).8 Still, the largest pre-war ethnographic and mis‐ sionary collections in Poland did not belong to the Society of the Divine Word but to the Salesians, although they were dispersed throughout several houses of that order (Traczyk, 1981: 198). At the same time, an ensemble of “exotic objects” was made available to the public by the Missionaries of St. Vincent de Paul in Cracow. Another collec‐ tion, however – that of the Discalced Carmelites from Wadowice – was not made public. Similar collections owned by the Jesuits, dating back to the beginning of the 19th century, had already gained certain acclaim, although they were not available for the broad public either. By contrast, the Missionaries Oblates of the Immaculate Mary (OMI) opened their little museum for visitors in Lubinec as did the Missionaries of the Holy Fami‐ ly in Wieluń. Similarly, the Franciscans from Annaberg in Silesia kept a collection of “exotic” items in their pilgrim’s house. Several such collec‐ tions were in the possession of female religious orders, including the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, the Sisters Servants of the Holy and Immac‐ ulate Virgin Mary, the Ursulines, and others.9 As mentioned above, in addition to permanent private collections numerous temporary exhibi‐ tions of objects collected by missionaries were also organized in Poland before World War II, e.g. in Poznań (1927), Cracow (1929), Lublin (1930) and in Warsaw (1931). The mission week, held in Warsaw in 1931, was another occasion to present publically ethnographic collections of various mis‐ sionary orders. According to Traczyk, at least 38 such exhibitions had been organized in Poland by extensively that exhibition and the subsequent fate of the collection. 8 Tyczka discusses the ethnographic collections of the Divine Word Missionaries in his article published in 2006. More de‐ tailed analysis is provided by Śliwka (1986: 333-362). A good source to the study of this topic present also the Mis‐ sion Archives in Pieniężno (Jagodziński and Śliwka: AMSVD / 6 / 75-76 / 41). 9 The data on the pre-war collections are included in the study by Traczyk (1981: 198-204). Missionary Museums 165 Anthropos 115.2020 1939, bringing together 28,000 visitors (1981: 204-213).10 What draws one’s attention is the di‐ verse nature of those exhibits, although the avail‐ able information about them may be uncertain. Moreover, he highlights that the evidence informa‐ tion on such activities presented in press can be contradictory.11 Many of those objects were lost during the WW II, however, and the post-war years, after the communist regime had been in‐ stalled in Poland, was not a good time either as convents and mission houses had been closed in the early 1950 s.12 Ethnographic Collections of the Divine Word Missionaries in Poland The first establishment of the order in what would later become part of Poland was the mission house founded in 1892, in Neisse (Nysa), Lower Silesia – then part of the Kaiserreich. Another centre was established in Beuthen (Bytom), but following the Upper Silesia Plebiscite of March 1921 and the fixing of the political border between Germany and Poland, the operations of the order were moved to the city of Rybnik in Upper Silesia.13 At the same time, new mission houses were estab‐ lished in Górna Grupa (Pomerania) and Bruczków (Greater Poland), and the noviciate opened in Chludowo near Poznań in 1935. Construction projects were also considered for Warsaw and the 10 This figure results from Traczyk’s analysis of temporary exhibitions. Still, he also states that according to the data corresponding to 1931, a total of 25 exhibitions were orga‐ nized in Poland in 9 dioceses. They were accompanied by various complementary programs, such as: the “Academic Missionary Congress” in Poznań, the Congress of Academ‐ ic Missionary Circles, meetings of various lay missionary organizations, to name only a few of them (Traczyk, 1981: 197, 204-213). 11 I am referring to the exhibition held in Warsaw, in 1938, in the context of the First National Congress of the Mission‐ ary Association of Clergy (Traczyk, 1981: 208). 12 The War and post-war fate of these collections was ad‐ dressed by Traczyk, 1981, Tyczka 2006, and Śliwka 1986. Interesting information can also be found in the archive of the Museum in Pieniężno, e.g. the correspondence of Fr. E. Śliwka with missionaries who worked in the aforemen‐ tioned pre-war houses, and who - at the request of the mu‐ seum management - sent information regarding individual collections (Missionary Archives SVD 6 / 75-76 / 41). See also „Historia kolekcjonerstwa misyjno-etnograficznego Polskiej Prowincji SVD,” by E. Śliwka and J. Jagodziński, as well as E. Śliwka 1977 and 1986. 13 It was one of the plebiscites regarding the Polish-German border as stipulated by the Versailles Treaty. As a result, the city of Beuthen (Bytom) remained within the German borders. region of Vilnius (today Lithuania). At the out‐ break of WW II, the Society of the Divine Word had four mission houses in Poland in which small private collections of “exotic” items were also held. The collection in Neisse (then still in Ger‐ many) was the largest one: it was exhibited on over 250 square meters. The collection in Rybnik was certainly more modest but it contained an in‐ teresting combination of non-European and local, Silesian artefacts. An interesting ethnographic col‐ lection existed also in Górna Grupa. During World War II, a number of SVD mis‐ sionary houses were damaged or taken over by the German army, and some members were sent to ex‐ termination camps, where several of them died. The ethnographic collections were either de‐ stroyed or scattered, and the documentation lost. After 1945, the SVD houses that existed in those regions of Germany that became incorporated into Poland, and specifically Nysa, Bytom and Mehl‐ sack (Pieniężno), were taken over by the Polish Province of the order.14 In 1952, in the abovementioned new political context, some of those houses (Nysa, Górna Grupa and Bruczków) were closed by the communist authorities, and the col‐ lections transferred to local museums.15 Since the 1960 s, along with the political “thaw” in Poland, missionary orders were again free to send their members abroad, which in turn translat‐ ed into a considerable expansion of missionary collections. In the early 1960 s, “missionary cabi‐ nets” were established at the SVD Seminary in Pieniężno, where future missionaries were being trained. They were followed by similar establish‐ ments in the SVD houses in Lublin, Chludowo, Nysa, and Laskowice. In 1980, the “cabinets” in Pieniężno were expanded into a permanent muse‐ um exhibition that functioned until mid-September 2018.16 During all that time, the exhibition en‐ joyed a remarkable popularity. It followed the 14 They became a part of the Polish Province of the Society of the Divine Word. However, the houses in Wałcz and Głubczyce were destroyed or changed the owner (Malek 1982: 25-63). 15 The post-war years were difficult. The confiscation of Church property affected also the seminaries (Tyczka 2006: 97 f.). Some artefacts enlarged the collections of the State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw and the Ethnographic Museum in Krakow. Similarly, during the war the occupa‐ tion authorities moved the SVD collections from Górna Grupa to Grudziądz (Śliwka 1986: 348; Zachorowska 1998: 12). Information regarding this subject can also be found in missionaries’ memoirs preserved in the SVD Mis‐ sion Archives (6 / 75-76 / 41). 16 The museum is currently undergoing extensive renovation works and the exhibition is temporarily closed. 166 Anna Nadolska-Styczynska Anthropos 115.2020 trend in European ethnographic museology of that time, namely, the presentation of cultural diversity through sets of selected objects which illustrated everyday life and rituals of particular peoples. Today, most Polish missionary exhibitions look similar to each other, in the sense that items are displayed in a way that resembles old-fashioned cabinets of curiosities. Some of them hang on the walls, while others are usually presented in dis‐ play cases. Exhibitions are organized geographi‐ cally – that is, according to continents and/or se‐ lected countries. Particular showcases frequently contain mixed artefacts – elements of clothing, decorations, household items, traditional art, sou‐ venirs, Christian art, to name a few, are displayed along with examples of flora and fauna. Their of‐ ten accompanied by maps, charts or copies of doc‐ uments concerning the history and charisma of the missionary organization in question. The museum in Pieniężno, however, has broken this pattern to some extent by organizing its exhibition themati‐ cally. Still, ethnographic artefacts and zoological items were also presented next to each other. In short, even the most significant Polish missionary collections, in general, represent the old exhibition model that is now being redefined. Current Challenges Not all SVD missionary museums have this char‐ acter, however – one exception being the Haus Völker und Kulturen in Sankt Augustin near Bonn, Germany. The exhibition at current premises opened in 1973, although the collection itself dates back to the interwar period. The museum has now a large collection of ethnographic items from Africa, Australia, Oceania and Asia. More impor‐ tantly, particular sections, visually designed in the 1980 s, still preserve their attractiveness as they comply with museological criteria that are valid even today. Nonetheless, at present the future of this museum is unclear due to the falling number of visitors and the insufficient funding.17 Why is it so? There is no straightforward answer here be‐ cause most missionary museums in Europe face similar problems. Still, one can point to several as‐ pects of this phenomenon. First and foremost, in recent years, ethnograph‐ ic museums across Europe have adopted the basic 17 The museum was definitely closed in February 2020. Its last director, Jerzy Skrabania, presented the history of this institution as well as its collections in a series of his articles (cf. Skrabania 2017). notions of the so-called “new museology,”18 while missionary museums and collections, by and large, retained their old-fashioned aspect.19 Consequent‐ ly, today these museums do not enjoy “any partic‐ ular interest, especially in Western Europe,” as Traczyk put it (1981: 187), which in turn endan‐ gers their future existence, as it has been already stated in case of the museum in Sankt Augustin. Additionally, missionary museums usually exist in small towns that are unattractive as points of inter‐ est for tourists. Secondly - in the case of missionary collections - the already mentioned principles of “new muse‐ ology” call for a change of attitude towards exhib‐ ited items, toward those who once owned them, and to visitors. To be sure, today all museums that own non-European items are now experiencing a serious “identity crisis” as they try to abide by these principles and struggle to redefine them‐ selves in this new context. In the process, they are rethinking their programs and presentation meth‐ ods, rearranging collections, and sharing their archives online. This includes the clarification of the way in which particular objects were acquired in the past, and the encouragement of intercultural dialogue and exchange. The author of this contribution still believes that non-European ethnology is still a rather marginal field of study in Poland, and hence the scientific potential of the existing collections cannot be fully exploited (Nadolska-Styczyńska 2017). Moreover, after the recent methodological shifts that oc‐ curred in the field of cultural anthropology world‐ wide, new trends have become evident, including the postcolonial discourse and the already men‐ tioned criticism of missionary ethnography and collections. Without any doubt, missionary muse‐ ums are losing their appeal in a globalizing world that is creating numerous opportunities to learn about cultural diversity and similarities, not only through an easy access to the media but also through more convenient travel opportunities. Still, museum exhibitions give insights into worlds that have already disappeared, or are disap‐ pearing quickly, and hence there will always be people who appreciate them. Their main advan‐ tages are authenticity, materiality, and the presence manifested as “here and now,” and the opportunity to realize the ongoing phenomenon of culture change. Furthermore, museum exhibitions facili‐ tate individual, more personal interaction with 18 cf. Vergo 2005; Zając 2005. 19 For the new museology, see for instance: Michel 2017; Gilhaus 2017. Missionary Museums 167 Anthropos 115.2020 artefacts – something that is not always possible on organized group trips. Although this committed group of museum enthusiasts is surely smaller than it was 30 years ago, it still exists – along with ethnographic museums. These institutions can, therefore, still operate and attract loyal audiences. This is possible, however, only if they adapt to the shifting museological landscape. Missionary museums face the same common problems, yet they also experience some addi‐ tional difficulties related to their typical mission‐ ary and didactic functions. Specifically, they are no longer needed as a basis for the education of future missionaries. In this function, they are grad‐ ually being replaced by the Internet, film materi‐ als, and scientific publications. More importantly, the current deep crisis of vocations, manifested in the ever-shrinking numbers of candidates to reli‐ gious life, makes feel its impact as well. As a re‐ sult, missionary museums have become an unprof‐ itable commercial burden: they are being closed and the collections “moved around” from one lo‐ cation to another – frequently without observing the necessary professional standards.20 One mis‐ sionary museum in Western Europe, for instance, received items of considerable ethnographic value from a mission house that was closing. Unfortu‐ nately, the artefacts were sent without any appro‐ priate documentation; they were subsequently stored in poor conditions as the small warehouse of that museum was filled with its own objects. To be sure, this is not the case everywhere and some mission museums do hold high professional stan‐ dards. One of them is the Vatican Museum itself that even successfully adopted certain principles of the new museology, including one case of repa‐ triation of human remains to their place of ori‐ gin.21 The question that arises in this context is whether this widely acknowledged crisis of mis‐ sionary museums has to have such a strong im‐ pact. All in all, my answer is no. Most Polish mis‐ sionary and ethnographic museums are exactly what they were in the 1980 s. Yet, is it their draw‐ back? The author’s answer is: yes and no. Yes because they all “suffer” disadvantages of muse‐ 20 cf. Tanja Holthausen (2017: 62). 21 See for instance The Local (2017). The problem of socalled “sensitive” exhibits is vital and widely discussed in the literature. This topic requires thorough, objective re‐ search on the history of particular collections, including the provenience of artefacts. Such transparency of documenta‐ tion is necessary for cases of repatriation claims, e.g. skele‐ tal remains and objects of worship. For further discussion, see Andratschke (2017). ums of the previous era, and in line with the latest museology trends, they should transform their pro‐ files and policies in accordance with the require‐ ments of the 21st century. No – for they are exam‐ ples of such museums, and thus, at least some of them should be preserved in their present, tradi‐ tional form.22 Another problem with missionary museums is the quality of scientific documentation concerning their collections. The museum in Pieniężno is a good case in point.23 Missionary museums in Poland usually employ clerics or nuns with no eth‐ nological background. Moreover, the essential da‐ ta, such as the names, functions and cultural con‐ texts of artefacts, are provided by missionaries who, by and large, are not ethnologists either. Consequently, the information that comes along with the donated items is – in most cases – incom‐ plete, that is fragmentary or simply inaccurate. These inaccuracies are further copied by individu‐ als who compose catalogue cards or the documen‐ tation for exhibitions.24 Several authors who ad‐ dress the topic of missionary museums emphasize the vital role of archival and historical research re‐ garding ethnographic collections, especially what concerns their origins and cultural contexts. In other words, a thorough professional research on these collections is a condition sine qua non and should be a starting point in the process of giving them a higher scientific value, necessary for sub‐ sequent educational activities and exhibitions, as well as the historical research. True, the determi‐ nation of origins of these artefacts is generally very difficult and time-consuming, considering the volume of cultural change that occurred in the ar‐ eas of their provenience, but the ethnographic im‐ portance of these collections certainly deserves this effort. 22 See, for instance, Holhausen (2017). She states, among oth‐ ers, that current missionary collections constitute a kind of a “time capsule” that provide information about the histori‐ cal contexts in which they emerged (2017: 53). She also calls for an individual approach to each collection in de‐ signing specific programs for their further development. 23 See Nadolska-Styczyńska “Z badań nad kolekcją afrykanistyczną Muzeum Misyjno-Etnograficznego w Pieniężnie” (the text will be published in EX Africa Semper Aliquid Novi 5: 2020), as well as Nadolska-Styczyńska 2019. 24 This problem concerns not only Polish museums (cf. Hol‐ hausen 2017: 54). 168 Anna Nadolska-Styczynska Anthropos 115.2020 Conclusion Modernization and scientific “revamping” of mis‐ sionary museums and exhibitions is necessary, in‐ deed urgent. In limited cases where there exists sufficient scientific documentation, including the pictorial one, this process should be easy and “painless.” In all other cases, there exists a serious threat that valuable collections will fall into obliv‐ ion. Unfortunately, most missionary museums in Poland belong to the second category. Moreover, most of the existing permanent exhibitions remain unmodified for many years before they are com‐ pletely dismantled (Nadolska-Styczyńska 2011: 306).25 After the dissolution of museums or col‐ lections, the items are usually auctioned off and end up in private collections, and thus cease to function as resource for ethnological and missio‐ logical research. The hope remains, however, that this crisis of missionary museums is only temporary and that these institutions will continue to be a valuable re‐ source for learning. It is even more important in the light of the fact that – unlike in Western Euro‐ pe – the public museums in Poland have rather poor non-European collections, and the existing ones are small and of little diversity.26 However, the largest missionary collections, such as the Mu‐ seum in Pieniężno, with its longstanding ambition to become “a true museum”27 must be modernized in accordance with the concepts of modern muse‐ ology. This new approach could provide a solid basis for the future development of this institution, along with its modernization, and professional co‐ operation with experienced ethnologists. The mu‐ seum is currently undergoing renovation works aiming to enlarge existing exhibition area, allow‐ ing new exhibition arrangements finally including higher numbers of collections. This institution, de‐ signed in the 1980 s as a model for other mission‐ ary museums, can still fulfill its meaningful role – suggest alternative forms, methods and solutions for conscious collecting practices and scholarly 25 The author of this article argues that it is important to pre‐ serve at least one section of the current exhibition of the museum as reference to its history. For this purpose, how‐ ever, it is necessary to keep the corresponding documenta‐ tion (e.g. photos, films, etc.). 26 In general, they were not collected in colonial contexts but rather obtained by Polish travelers as well as by scientists during ethnographic and archaeological expeditions. 27 Concrete steps have already been postulated, e.g. the statutes of the museum as well as the organization of con‐ sultations with specialists, meetings, and conferences. See, for instance, Stasz 1987; Piwowarczyk 1987. and academic research papers addressing the dis‐ played artifacts. References Unpublished Mission Archives in Pieniężno Jagodziński, Jerzy and E. Śliwka „Historia kolekcjonerstwa misyjno-etnograficznego na terenie polskiej prowincji Zgromadzenia Słowa Bożego” (AMSVD/6/75-76/41). Traczyk, Krystian „Kościelne zbiory misyjno-etnograficzne w Polsce.” Reprint of the master’s thesis submitted at KUL – 1980 (APPSVD / 51). Correspondence of Fr. E. Śliwka with missionaries (SVD 6 / 75-76 / 41) Published Ad gentes divinitus Dekret o Działalności Misyjnej Kościoła Soboru Waty‐ kańskiego II. In: J. Grobicki and E. Florkowski (eds.), Sobór watykański II. Konstytucje, dekrety, deklaracje; pp. 436– 474. Poznań: Pallottinum. Andratschke, Claudia Provenienzforschung in ethnologischen Sammlungen. Umgang mit einem heiklen Erbe. In: LVR und LWL (Hrsg.), Missionsgeschichtliche Sammlungen heute. Beiträge einer Tagung, pp. 65–76. Siegburg: Franz Schmitt Verlag. Corbey, Raymond and K. Weener Collecting While Converting. Missionaries and Ethno‐ graphics. Journal of Art: Historiography [accessed 13.09.2019] Gilhaus, Urlike Das Forum der Völker in Werl. Einblicke in eine laufende Museumsberatung. In: LVR und LWL (Hrsg.), Missionsgeschichtliche Sammlungen heute. Beiträge einer Tagung; pp. 125–138. Siegburg: Franz Schmitt Verlag. Henninger, Józef SVD Sylwetka Wilhelma Schmidta i ocena jego dorobku naukowego. In: H. Zimoń (ed.), Działalność Instytutu Anthropos w dziedzinie lingwistyki, etnologii i reli‐ gioznawstwa; pp. 10–24. Pieniężno: Księża Werbiści. Holthausen, Tanja Die besondere Situation mission geschichtlicher Samm‐ lungen. In: LVR und LWL (Hrsg.), Missions‐ geschichtliche Sammlungen heute. Beiträge einer Tagung; pp. 53–64. Siegburg: Franz Schmitt Verlag. The Local Vatican returns shrunken “warrior” head to Ecuador. [26. 09. 2019] Malek, Roman (ed.) Werbiści w Polsce. Pieniężno: Księża Werbiści. 1986 2017 2015 2017 1980 2017 2017 1982 Missionary Museums 169 Anthropos 115.2020 Michel, Kathrin Von der Sammlung zur Ausstellung. Expositorische Möglichkeiten im Museum. Studia Instituti Missiologi‐ ci SVD 111: 99–110. Nadolska-Styczyńska, Anna Pośród zabytków z odległych stron. Muzealnicy i pol‐ skie etnograficzne kolekcje pozaeuropejskie, Toruń: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu im. Mikołaja Kopernika. Pozaeuropejskość w europejskim muzeum. Zbiór Wiadomości do Antropologii Muzealnej 4: 107–130. Afrykańska tradycyjna plastyka obrzędowa w zbiorach Muzeum Misyjno Etnograficznego w Pieniężnie. In: E. Prądzyńska, A. Szczepańska-Dudziak, L. Buchalik Lucjan (eds.), Afryka – pasja życia. Tom jubileuszowy dedykowany dr hab. Jackowi Łapottowi, prof. US, w 70 rocznicę urodzin; pp. 117–128. Żory: Muzeum Miejskie. Z badań nad kolekcją afrykanistyczną Muzeum Misyjno-Etnograficznego w Pieniężnie. Ex Africa Sem‐ per Aliquid Novi 5. Piwowarczyk, Dariusz SVD Dokumentacja muzealna na przykładzie Muzeum Misyjno-Etnograficznego Seminarium Duchownego Księży Werbistów w Pieniężnie. In: E. Śliwka (ed.), Zbiory pozaeuropejskie w państwowych i kościelnych muzeach etnograficznych w Polsce. Materiały z sesji naukowej; pp. 100–112. Pieniężno: Księża Werbiści. Said, Edward W. Orientalizm, Poznań, Wydawnictwo Zysk i S-ka. Schwab, Christoph Ethnographische Sammlung oder Missionssamlung? Das Ausstellungkonzept des Museum auf der Hardt der Archiv- und Museumsstiftung der VEM. In: LVR und LWL (Hrsg.), Missionsgeschichtliche Sammlungen heute. Beiträge einer Tagung; pp. 111–124. Siegburg: Franz Schmitt Verlag. Skrabania, Jerzy SVD Haus Völker und Kulturen. Seine Entstehungs- und Wirkungsgeschichte. In: LVR und LWL (Hrsg.), Mis‐ sionsgeschichtliche Sammlungen heute. Beiträge einer Tagung; pp. 41–52. Siegburg: Franz Schmitt Verlag. Stasz, Jan SVD Działalność Muzeum Misyjno-Etnograficznego Semi‐ narium Duchownego Księży Werbistów w Pieniężnie w latach 1973-1983. E. Śliwka (ed.), Zbiory pozaeuropej‐ 2017 2011 2017 2019 2020 1987 2003 2017 2017 1987 skie w państwowych i kościelnych muzeach etno‐ graficznych w Polsce. Materiały z sesji naukowej; pp. 92–97. Pieniężno: Księża Werbiści. Śliwka, Eugeniusz Zbiory misyjno-etnograficzne Polskiej Prowincji Zgro‐ madzenia Słowa Bożego, Archiwa, Biblioteki i Muzea Kościelne 34: 182–190. Formacja intelektualna, działalność dydaktycznonaukowa i wydawnicza werbistów polskich, Pieniężno: Księża Werbiści. Tańczuk, Renata Misyjne rzeczy. Kilka uwag o sprawczości rzeczy na Watykańskiej Wystawie Misyjnej w 1925 roku. Prace Kulturoznawcze 23/2-3: 123–145. Traczyk, Krystian Kościelne zbiory misyjno-etnograficzne w Polsce. Archiwa, Biblioteki i Muzea Kościelne 42: 187–245. Tyczka, Józef SVD Zarys dziejów Polskiej Prowincji Zgromadzenia Słowa Bożego. Warszawa: Verbinum. Wingfield, Chris The Moving Objects of the London Missionary Society. An Experiment in Symmetrical Anthropology. [25.09. 2019] Missionary Museums. [28.09.2019] Vergo, Peter Milczący obiekt. In: M. Popczyk (ed.), Muzeum sztuki. Antologia; pp. 313–334. Kraków: Universitas. Zachorowska, Maria Historia Działu Kultur Pozaeuropejskich i zbiorów pozaeuropejskich. Rocznik Muzeum Etnograficznego w Krakowie 14: 5–27. Zając, Marta Nowa muzeologia, lub jak spojrzeć w oczy Meduzie. In: M. Popczyk (ed.), Muzeum sztuki. Antologia; pp. 369–378. Kraków: Universitas. Zimoń, Henryk Działalność Instytutu Anthropos. In: H. Zimoń (ed.), Działalność Instytutu Anthropos w dziedzinie ling‐ wistyki, etnologii i religioznawstwa; pp. 212–223. Pieniężno: Księża Werbiści. 1977 1986 2019 1981 2006 2012 2017 2005 1998 2005 1980 170 Anna Nadolska-Styczynska Anthropos 115.2020

Abstract

The article addresses missionary ethnographic collections, with a particular focus on Polish museums. It aims at presenting works and profiles of those museums, considering their origin and underlying concepts. The author discusses the contemporary problems of these institutions, paying close attention to the specific character of their collections. The author addresses the question whether these frequently criticized museums and collections have actually lost their raison d’être in the 21st century, and whether they should be primarily associated with European colonial interference and the destruction of non-European cultures, as well as with outdated museology. The author further argues that missionary museums undoubtedly require a radical rethinking of their mission and character, but they still preserve their value, especially for comparative ethnographic research and popularization of the idea of interculturality.

References
Unpublished
Mission Archives in Pieniężno
Jagodziński, Jerzy and E. Śliwka
„Historia kolekcjonerstwa misyjno-etnograficznego na terenie polskiej prowincji Zgromadzenia Słowa Bożego” (AMSVD/6/75-76/41).
Traczyk, Krystian
„Kościelne zbiory misyjno-etnograficzne w Polsce.” Reprint of the master’s thesis submitted at KUL – 1980 (APPSVD / 51).
Correspondence of Fr. E. Śliwka with missionaries (SVD 6 / 75-76 / 41)
Published
Ad gentes divinitus
1986 Dekret o Działalności Misyjnej Kościoła Soboru Watykańskiego II. In: J. Grobicki and E. Florkowski (eds.), Sobór watykański II. Konstytucje, dekrety, deklaracje; pp. 436– 474. Poznań: Pallottinum.
Andratschke, Claudia
2017 Provenienzforschung in ethnologischen Sammlungen. Umgang mit einem heiklen Erbe. In: LVR und LWL (Hrsg.), Missionsgeschichtliche Sammlungen heute. Beiträge einer Tagung, pp. 65–76. Siegburg: Franz Schmitt Verlag.
Corbey, Raymond and K. Weener
2015 Collecting While Converting. Missionaries and Ethnographics. Journal of Art: Historiography <https://arthistoriography.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/corbey -weener.pdf> [accessed 13.09.2019]
Gilhaus, Urlike
2017 Das Forum der Völker in Werl. Einblicke in eine laufende Museumsberatung. In: LVR und LWL (Hrsg.), Missionsgeschichtliche Sammlungen heute. Beiträge einer Tagung; pp. 125–138. Siegburg: Franz Schmitt Verlag.
Henninger, Józef SVD
1980 Sylwetka Wilhelma Schmidta i ocena jego dorobku naukowego. In: H. Zimoń (ed.), Działalność Instytutu Anthropos w dziedzinie lingwistyki, etnologii i religioznawstwa; pp. 10–24. Pieniężno: Księża Werbiści.
Holthausen, Tanja
2017 Die besondere Situation mission geschichtlicher Sammlungen. In: LVR und LWL (Hrsg.), Missionsgeschichtliche Sammlungen heute. Beiträge einer Tagung; pp. 53–64. Siegburg: Franz Schmitt Verlag.
The Local
2017 Vatican returns shrunken “warrior” head to Ecuador. <https://www.thelocal.it/20171217/vatican-returns-shrunken-warrior-head-to-ecuador>[26. 09. 2019]
Malek, Roman (ed.)
1982 Werbiści w Polsce. Pieniężno: Księża Werbiści.
Michel, Kathrin
2017 Von der Sammlung zur Ausstellung. Expositorische Möglichkeiten im Museum. Studia Instituti Missiologici SVD 111: 99–110.
Nadolska-Styczyńska, Anna
2011 Pośród zabytków z odległych stron. Muzealnicy i polskie etnograficzne kolekcje pozaeuropejskie, Toruń: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu im. Mikołaja Kopernika.
2017 Pozaeuropejskość w europejskim muzeum. Zbiór Wiadomości do Antropologii Muzealnej 4: 107–130.
2019 Afrykańska tradycyjna plastyka obrzędowa w zbiorach Muzeum Misyjno Etnograficznego w Pieniężnie. In: E. Prądzyńska, A. Szczepańska-Dudziak, L. Buchalik Lucjan (eds.), Afryka – pasja życia. Tom jubileuszowy dedykowany dr hab. Jackowi Łapottowi, prof. US, w 70 rocznicę urodzin; pp. 117–128. Żory: Muzeum Miejskie.
2020 Z badań nad kolekcją afrykanistyczną Muzeum Misyjno-Etnograficznego w Pieniężnie. Ex Africa Semper Aliquid Novi 5.
Piwowarczyk, Dariusz SVD
1987 Dokumentacja muzealna na przykładzie Muzeum Misyjno-Etnograficznego Seminarium Duchownego Księży Werbistów w Pieniężnie. In: E. Śliwka (ed.), Zbiory pozaeuropejskie w państwowych i kościelnych muzeach etnograficznych w Polsce. Materiały z sesji naukowej; pp. 100–112. Pieniężno: Księża Werbiści.
Said, Edward W.
2003 Orientalizm, Poznań, Wydawnictwo Zysk i S-ka.
Schwab, Christoph
2017 Ethnographische Sammlung oder Missionssamlung? Das Ausstellungkonzept des Museum auf der Hardt der Archiv- und Museumsstiftung der VEM. In: LVR und LWL (Hrsg.), Missionsgeschichtliche Sammlungen heute. Beiträge einer Tagung; pp. 111–124. Siegburg: Franz Schmitt Verlag.
Skrabania, Jerzy SVD
2017 Haus Völker und Kulturen. Seine Entstehungs- und Wirkungsgeschichte. In: LVR und LWL (Hrsg.), Missionsgeschichtliche Sammlungen heute. Beiträge einer Tagung; pp. 41–52. Siegburg: Franz Schmitt Verlag.
Stasz, Jan SVD
1987 Działalność Muzeum Misyjno-Etnograficznego Seminarium Duchownego Księży Werbistów w Pieniężnie w latach 1973-1983. E. Śliwka (ed.), Zbiory pozaeurop⁠e⁠j¬s⁠kie w państwowych i kościelnych muzeach etnograficznych w Polsce. Materiały z sesji naukowej; pp. 92–97. Pieniężno: Księża Werbiści.
Śliwka, Eugeniusz
1977 Zbiory misyjno-etnograficzne Polskiej Prowincji Zgromadzenia Słowa Bożego, Archiwa, Biblioteki i Muzea Kościelne 34: 182–190.
1986 Formacja intelektualna, działalność dydaktyczno-naukowa i wydawnicza werbistów polskich, Pieniężno: Księża Werbiści.
Tańczuk, Renata
2019 Misyjne rzeczy. Kilka uwag o sprawczości rzeczy na Watykańskiej Wystawie Misyjnej w 1925 roku. Prace Kulturoznawcze 23/2-3: 123–145.
Traczyk, Krystian
1981 Kościelne zbiory misyjno-etnograficzne w Polsce. Archiwa, Biblioteki i Muzea Kościelne 42: 187–245.
Tyczka, Józef SVD
2006 Zarys dziejów Polskiej Prowincji Zgromadzenia Słowa Bożego. Warszawa: Verbinum.
Wingfield, Chris
2012 The Moving Objects of the London Missionary Society. An Experiment in Symmetrical Anthropology. <https://www.academia.edu/1100047/PhD_Thesis_The_Moving_Objects_of_the_Lym_met_Atmentary> [25.09. 2019]
2017 Missionary Museums. <https://www.academia.edu/29341478/Missionary_Museums>[28.09.2019]
Vergo, Peter
2005 Milczący obiekt. In: M. Popczyk (ed.), Muzeum sztuki. Antologia; pp. 313–334. Kraków: Universitas.
Zachorowska, Maria
1998 Historia Działu Kultur Pozaeuropejskich i zbiorów pozaeuropejskich. Rocznik Muzeum Etnograficznego w Krakowie 14: 5–27.
Zając, Marta
2005 Nowa muzeologia, lub jak spojrzeć w oczy Meduzie. In: M. Popczyk (ed.), Muzeum sztuki. Antologia; pp. 369–378. Kraków: Universitas.
Zimoń, Henryk
1980 Działalność Instytutu Anthropos. In: H. Zimoń (ed.), Działalność Instytutu Anthropos w dziedzinie lingwistyki, etnologii i religioznawstwa; pp. 212–223. Pieniężno: Księża Werbiści.

Abstract

Anthropos is the international journal of anthropology and linguistics, founded in 1906 by Wilhelm Schmidt, missonary and member of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). Its main purpose is the study of human societies in their cultural dimension. In honor of Wilhelm Schmidt‘s legacy, the cultivation of anthropology, ethnology, linguistics, and religious studies remain an essential component oft he Anthropos Institute – the organizational carrier of the journal.

Zusammenfassung

Anthropos - internationale Zeitschrift für Völkerkunde wird vom Anthropos Institut St. Augustin seit 1906 zweimal jährlich herausgegeben. Ursprünglich als Sprachrohr für katholische Missionarsarbeit geplant, gilt sie heute als wichtige Fachzeitschrift der allgemeinen Ethnologie. Sie behandelt sowohl kulturelle als auch sprachliche Themen in mehreren Sprachen, mit Schwerpunkt auf den Völkern des gesamtamerikanischen und afrikanischen Kontinents.