The Arts of Africa Digital Collection (Les Arts d'Afrique) is a demonstration collection of art works and artifacts from the African continent, and, mostly from private collections. This collection provides access to high resolution images while simulating museum viewing by allowing each object to be seen in the round (360 degrees). See all items available with 360 degree views here.


About Between the Beads: Reading African Beadwork Exhibit

In selecting items for the Between the Beads: Reading African Beadwork exhibit of African Beadwork in 2008-9, the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art partnered with the University of Florida Libraries' Digital Library Center. The Digital Library Center provided imaging support by photographing each object in high resolution and creating a digital package which would simulate museum viewing by allowing each object to be seen in the round (360 degrees). Each object can also be enlarged to show detail giving scholars, researchers and the public an experience not available in the museum setting; the ability to inspect even the smallest stitch or tiniest bead. These images are now freely available online to anyone with an Internet connection within this collection. Browse all by thumbnail for a glimpse of the items and then click for far more detail.

To further support the exhibit, the Digital Library Center scanned related images from the UF Libraries collections, notably photographs from Z.J.S. Ndimande & Son which were donated by researcher Frank Jolles. In order to best support the fusion of museum and library materials for exploration, innovation, and research, the Digital Library Center is also pursuing permissions to digitize scholarly research on African Beadwork.

Both institutions benefited greatly from this collaboration. The project allowed the Harn to move one step closer to their goal of providing greater public access to their collections online. At the same time the DLC added to their holdings and provided a more complete research portal by adding visual objects which directly related to their existing collection of African print materials. The result is illustrated in the UF Digital Collections when searching for the term "Yoruba." The search term returns 155 items including books on Yoruba names and their meanings, the origins of Santeria, and cultural traditions in the Benin Kingdom as well as a Yoruba Beaded Coronet and Female Ibeji Figure (both from the Harn collection). The Harn also received technical consultation from the DLC in preparation of future digital projects. Together, the Digital Library Center and the Harn Museum hope to bring materials to life online and in conversation with each other.

Works in this collection are intended to be used in tandem with the literature of African art held in the Africa General Collections, and more of the Harn Museum's items are available in the Harn Digital Collection.