Ivan Gaskell
Search for other papers by Ivan Gaskell in
Current site
Google Scholar
Joining the club
A Tongan ‘akau in New England
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

This chapter examines the place of Oceanic clubs in New England collections. During the nineteenth century, they occupied an equivocal position in the New England mental repertory as indices of savage sophistication, and as souvenirs of colonial childhood or travel. Focusing on a Tongan ‘akau tau in the collection of the Chatham Historical Society on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, this chapter traces what can be known of its history as a highly regarded prestige gift item among New Englanders from the middle of the nineteenth century until its entry into the museum. As a thing that an early owner could alienate legitimately, its presence in Chatham is not unethical, yet it none the less imposes stewardship responsibilities – consultation with the originating community – that such a small institution is poorly placed to meet. This requires understanding and patience rather than disapprobation.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

All of MUP's digital content including Open Access books and journals is now available on manchesterhive.



Museums and the future of curatorship


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 166 30 6
Full Text Views 46 0 0
PDF Downloads 7 0 0