The museum collections

The Museums of World Culture manage more than 500,000 objects from all over the world, as well as one million images, 200 000 books and journals, and 500 running meters of archival material. These objects form the basis for many of our exhibitions and are also used to give each of our museums a certain profile. In some cases, the objects are stored in direct connection to the museums but there are also a number of external museum depots. The museum depots are open to visitors by appointment only.


Many of the objects that the museums manage are carriers of memories and an important manifestation of identity, not only for individuals but also entire communities. More often than not, it is about ethnic groups being discriminated against by the government and authorities that rule in their native country. Because of the sensitivity and strong emotions attached to certain objects, it is not unusual for the museums to be asked to return such objects to their original communities or countries. When this is the case, the Museums of World Culture are always open to a dialogue based on our professional mandate. We have over the years returned a number of objects to their original communities and countries. However, we are also of the opinion that it is our responsibility to preserve and display the collections placed in our care to as many people as possible. Although the geographical origin of most objects is global, it does not only tell of life in for example Australia, China or Canada – it also conveys how we relate to each other around the world – throughout history and in present times.
We have indeed the right and responsibility to manage, interpret and make available artefacts and objects from around the world. At the Museums of World Culture, we believe that culture and identity is something that we are constantly creating and changing. In this feeling of rootlessness, we are all equal.