When Brown University received Rudolf Haffenreffer's private museum from his family in 1955, its collections included 60,000 objects from the Native cultures of the Americas. Under Brown's stewardship, the collections have grown enormously in breadth and depth. Brown now has world-class strength in the indigenous arts of the Americas, Africa, and Southeast Asia, along with smaller collections from other parts of the world.
The Haffenreffer Museum acquires archaeological and ethnographic objects that serve to illustrate and document human cultures and societies worldwide; that enhance the educational, cultural, or research value of the collection; that are sources of artistic inspiration; and that can be properly stored, conserved, and preserved. The Museum will not knowingly acquire materials that have been illegally excavated. Nor will it support, in any way, markets in illegally trafficked antiquities. Our collections grow constantly through gifts from alumni and friends; field research by Brown students, faculty, and staff; and occasionally through strategic purchases.
All of these collections are accessible to Brown faculty and students for research and inspiration.