There are approximately 6,500 ethnological objects in the inventory of the Völkerkundemuseums Herrnhut (Museum of Ethnology, Herrnhut) of which around 2,000 are on display in a permanent exhibition. The other 4,500 collection objects are stored in a depot and are rarely accessible to the public. This special exhibition is now showing a representative cross-section of the richly varied inventory.
The collections of the Völkerkundemuseum Herrnhut were created by missionaries of the Evangelical Unity of rethren. The objects from distant lands were intended to shed light on the life styles of different cultures. From the outset, the museum association has also followed a policy of purchasing objects from other continents. Circa 1890, for example, a large collection from Melanasia – Papua New Guinea, New Ireland, New Britain – which has not been exhibited in recent decades was purchased.
Smaller collections and individual objects also came into the inventory via various routes. At the end of the 20th century, the regional spectrum of the collections was expanded with the donation of Vigo L. Glass (1919–2008) which contained over 500 items. All these collection objects serve as valuable evidence of the richness, craftsmanship and artistic heritage of foreign cultures. The museum is committed to preserving them and presenting them to the public.