Two iron hoes used by the Naga people, from the Naga Hills, Assam, India. The Museum aquired the hoes from English Anthropologist Dr James Henry Hutton. Hutton joined the Indian Civil Service in 1909 and spent most of his career in Assam. He held positions as a Political Officer and a Deputy Commissioner for which he carried out lengthy tours to inspect facilities and infrastructure as well as to settle legal disputes. In 1920 he became Honorary Director of Ethnography for Assam. Hutton researched and published works on the tribal culture of the Naga Hills.
West Berkshire Museum holds objects that have been collected from around the world. These objects were largely compiled by Harold Peake, Honorary Curator of the Museum between 1909 and 1946, who was best known as an archaeologist and anthropologist. Peake travelled for his research and purchased objects to bring back, often focussing on his interests in India, Europe and the Middle East. He also purchased objects from other museums and dealers, and sold pieces from the ‘Newbury Museum’ in order to build a large collection from around the world; a comparative historic world collection that would illustrate the history of civilisation. This is not how museums build and manage collections today, although it was common practice during Peake’s time.
The Museum also has donations and transfers of objects from other museums that have connections to Ancient Egypt and the tourist trade in Africa, America and Asia. The Museum also holds objects relating to military campaigns such as the Boer War, the Anglo-Ashanti Wars and the First and Second World Wars that can tell layered and meaningful histories of our colonial past.