The African Art Museum of the SMA Fathers at Tenafly, New Jersey is one of five museums around the world founded and maintained by the Society of African Missions (SMA), an international Roman Catholic missionary organization that serves the people of Africa.
The museums continue the vision of SMA’s founder, Bishop Melchior de Marion Brésillac (1813-1859). The French-born clergyman urged his Society to respect and preserve the culture of the peoples they serve, the unique vision among missionaries of his time.
Established in 1980, the Tenafly museum is one of only a rare few in the United States dedicated solely to the arts of Africa. Its permanent collections, exhibited on a rotating basis, offer a unique advantage in the study and research of sub-Saharan sculpture and painting, costumes, textiles and decorative arts, religion and folklore.
Founded on collections originally assembled for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, The Field Museum now houses 24 million anthropologial, botanical, geological and zoological specimens and objects from around the world. These collections–from narwhal horns to treeferns, fish fossils, and Chinese rubbings–help us understand and conserve the world’s biological and cultural diversity. The Museum’s research, collection, and conservation areas are home to dozens of scientists and students studying, managing, and telling the world about this incredible library of diversity.