The Forster Collection Pitt Rivers Museum

Project Description:

The Forster Collection at the Pitt Rivers Museum is one of the world's great collections of eighteenth-century Pacific art and material culture. The objects were acquired by Reinhold Forster and his son George during Captain James Cook's second famous voyage of discovery from 1772 to 1775. The collection includes ornaments, clothing, utensils, weapons, and musical instruments from the islands visited on the voyage: Tahiti, Tonga, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Rapa Nui (Easter Island), the Marquesas, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and Tierra del Fuego.

The Forsters sent the collection to Oxford in 1776 along with a handwritten 'Catalogue of Curiosities'. This web site provides access to a complete scan of the 'Catalogue of Curiosities' and a variety of sources of other information about the collection. Here you can: find out about the Forsters themselves; learn about the history of the collection; explore the collection in different ways; and follow links to further resources. You can explore the collection in various ways. You can start with the 'Catalogue of Curiosities sent to Oxford' in which the Forsters themselves listed the contents of the collection. Or you can start with the database specially prepared for this site. From this you can access the Museum's working database, which has full details of all the information held about each item in the collection. Alternatively, you can view the gallery of images held on the site. He links to the database and database querying sequences were written using Claris Dynamic Mark-up Language (CDML) which queries a FileMaker Pro database. The web site runs on an Apple Macintosh web server running Mac OS 8.6, with the web pages served using a combination of Appleshare IP 6.2 and Filemaker Pro 5 Unlimited. Images on the site were scanned from slides and other media to create digital images; these were then converted to jpeg format, re-sized and sharpened before being added to the web site. The images are linked to the databases using standard numbering identifiers that relate the images to the catalogue record and the original image number.