Our World Cultures collections include internationally important material from across the globe.

World Cultures collection

World Cultures covers a wide range of artefacts from around the world, dating from the prehistoric to the present day. The department is organized into four sections:

  • Ancient Mediterranean
  • East and Central Asia
  • Middle East and South Asia
  • Oceania, Americas and Africa

Collection highlights include ancient Egyptian material, Near Eastern archaeology (including Cyprus), ancient Mediterranean glass (600 BCE–CE 600), Tibetan thangkas (17th–19th centuries), Chinese lacquer (200 BCE–c.1900), Japanese woodblock prints (1800–20th century), Persian art (18th–19th centuries), Indian sculpture (10th–20th centuries) and Indonesian textiles (18th–20th centuries). There is a wide variety of objects collected by early Scottish missionaries in central Africa, as well as significant early North Athapaskan collections from the Canadian Subarctic collected by Scottish traders. Artefacts from early exploration of the Pacific include material from Captain Cook’s voyages and the Challenger Expedition.

The Jean Jenkins Collection of sound archives highlights her pioneering work in Africa, the Middle East and India gathering examples of native music in the 20th century.

World Cultures department


Dr John Giblin: Keeper, Department of World Cultures

John GiblinResponsible for: The Department of World Cultures, its staff, projects and collections.
Research interests: Archaeology and Critical Heritage Studies, particularly, the post-colonial and post-conflict role and practice of archaeology and heritage in eastern Africa.
Email: j.giblin@nms.ac.uk

You can find out more about John Giblin here.


Friederike Voigt: Senior Curator, Middle East and South Asia

Friederike VoigtResponsible for: Managing the Middle East and South Asia section, covering the Middle East, Iran, Turkey, Central Asia and the Indian cultural area. The collections include applied arts from Islamic cultures, metalwork, glass and ceramics as well as ethnographic and archaeological collections.
Research interests: Material Culture; Iran, especially Iranian tiles and ceramics.
Email: f.voigt@nms.ac.uk

You can find out more about Friederike Voigt here.


Dr Qin Cao: Curator, Chinese Collections

Dr Qin CaoResponsible for: Managing the Chinese collections, including those of the Himalayan and Mongolian regions, and the Korean peninsula.
Research interests: Chinese material culture, in particular weapons of the Shang and Zhou dynasties and numismatics, as well as the history of collecting.
Email: q.cao@nms.ac.uk

You can find out more about Dr Qin Cao here.  


Dr Sarah Worden: Senior Curator, Africa Collections

Sarah WordenResponsible for: Collections from across sub-Saharan and North-east Africa.
Research interests: Textiles, clothing and adornment, especially Hausa of Northern Nigeria.
Email: s.worden@nms.ac.uk

You can find out more about Dr Sarah Worden here.


Dr Margaret Maitland: Senior Curator, Ancient Mediterranean (on Research Leave until 10 December 2019)

Margaret MaitlandResponsible for: The Ancient Mediterranean collections with emphasis on managing Ancient Egyptian collections.
Research interests: Middle Kingdom Egyptian culture, especially tomb decoration, tomb models, and literature; society and identity; the history of early Egyptology.
Email: m.maitland@nms.ac.uk

You can find out more about Margaret Maitland here.


Dr Dan Potter: Curator, Ancient Mediterranean

Responsible for: The Ancient Mediterranean collections with emphasis on managing Ancient Egyptian collections.
Research interests: Ramesside Egyptian religion, texts and language. Pragmatics and Cognitive Linguistics. Early Egyptology, collectors and collecting.
Email: d.potter@nms.ac.uk

You can find out more about Dan Potter here.


Dr Antje Denner: Research Associate

Dr Antje DennerResearch interests: Pacific collections, particularly Melanesia; anthropology of art; religion and ritual practices; socio-cultural change; museology.
Email: a.denner@nms.ac.uk

You can find out more about Dr Antje Denner here.


Dr Henrietta Lidchi: Research Fellow, AHRC Baggage & Belonging Military Collections and the British Empire (1750-1900) 

Dr Henrietta LidchiResponsible for: From 2017-2020 Dr Henrietta Lidchi is seconded as the Principal Investigator on the AHRC funded project 'Baggage and Belonging: Military Collections and the British Empire (1750-1900)'. She is working on this project with her Co-investigator Stuart Allan in the Department of Scottish History and Archaeology.
Email: h.lidchi@nms.ac.uk

You can find out more about Henrietta Lidchi here.


Nicola Garside: Assistant Curator, East and Central Asia (on leave until June 2020)

Nicola GarsideResponsible for: Working with East and Central Asian collections; storage, preventive conservation, exhibition and loans preparation.
Research interests: Access, interpretation and audience.
Email: n.garside@nms.ac.uk

You can find out more about Nicola Garside here.


Rosanna Nicolson: Assistant Curator, Middle East and South Asia

Rosanna BlakelyResponsible for: Working with Middle Eastern and South Asian collections, as well as supporting the work of the department across all regional sections. 
Research interests: Southeast Asia; costume and textiles; material culture; collectors and collecting; colonial encounters.
Email: r.nicolson@nms.ac.uk 

You can find out more about Rosanna Nicolson here.


Victoria Adams: Assistant Curator, Ancient Mediterranean and Oceania, Americas and Africa

Victoria AdamsResponsible for: Working with collections from the Ancient Mediterranean including Ancient Egypt,  and Oceania, the Americas, and Africa.
Research interests: The migration and exchange of imagery and symbolism across cultures.
Email: v.adams@nms.ac.uk

You can find out more about Victoria Adams here.


Dr Louise Boyd: Assistant Curator, Japan

Dr Louise BoydResponsible for: Supporting the work of the Senior Curator for Japan in developing a new East & Central Asia gallery as part of our Heritage Lottery Funded capital project ‘Revealing Cultures’, between January 2017 and 2018. This post is funded by the Japan Foundation.
Research interests: Edo-period art and culture especially ukiyo-e and Kitagawa Utamaro, but other interests include the work of female artists, the history of collecting and collections, and issues relating to gender and sexuality.
Email: l.boyd@nms.ac.uk

You can find out more about Louise Boyd here.


Dr Vanessa Tothill: Assistant Curator, East Asia Collections Review

Responsible for: The East Asia Collections Review. Vanessa is working with the Department of World Cultures and National & International Partnerships to survey the contents of Chinese, Japanese and Korean collections in Scottish museums and offer participating museums the expertise of subject specialists based at National Museums Scotland. The main outcome of the review will be the enhanced documentation of East Asian Collections in Scotland with key findings made available online via the National Museums Scotland website.
Research interests: textiles, sericulture, ceramics, woodblock print publishing, text-images, kabuki, censorship, Confucianism, ethics and morality, cultural translation.
Email: v.tothill@nms.ac.uk

You can find out more about Vanessa Tothill here.


Karwin Cheung: Assistant Curator, East and Central Asia

Responsible for: Working with East and Central Asian collections

Research interests: Intercultural exchanges in East Asia in the early modern period, Chinese and Korean painting and calligraphy, Korean ceramics.

Email: k.cheung@nms.ac.uk

You can find out more about Karwin Cheung here.

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