Slavery Collections at Wilberforce House
Wilberforce House has many objects relating to slavery and the campaign for its abolition. The collection strengths lie in plantation records and anti-slavery material. The museum also has receipts for slave sales, slavery auction posters and items used in the enslavement, imprisonment and branding of enslaved Africans.
A visit to Wilberforce House takes the visitor through from the origins of slavery, the transportation of slaves in the transatlantic slave trade, their life on the plantations including the rebellions and revolts of slave communities, and the Parliamentary campaign. Contemporary forms of slavery and human rights are also explored using the collection and audio-visual material.
The museum displays are fortunate to have a number of important loans in its displays. Follow the links on the Web to see some of the items in the museums own collections relating to slavery and its abolition.
West African Cultures
West Africa was home to many different states and kingdoms with a variety of cultures. The transatlantic slave trade uprooted people from their homes and took them to foreign lands. Enslaved people left slave ships without any belongings, but they successfully carried with them religion, music and memories of Africa.
West African textiles have always been decorative. During the slave trade Kente cloth was a highly valued textile which is still very popular in modern Ghana. The museum has three pieces of Kente cloth on display in the galleries. Their bright colours and varied patterns help to create a strong sense of cultural identity.
The museum also has a Benin Bronze in the collection. The kingdoms of Benin and Asante built up great wealth through trade with Europeans. The royal guild of Benin bronze casters decorated the Oba or King's palace with intricate brass plaques to show their wealth. This Benin bronze, in two pieces, shows two men; one is holding a ball and the other is holding a musical instrument.