This exhibition focuses on six of the Pitt Rivers Museum’s most important female collectors and their fieldwork carried out between 1910 and the late 1950s. It is a unique opportunity to see objects and photographs resulting from their travels, as well as original archival material and film on display for the first time.
Why intrepid? The six ‘intrepid women’ featured in this exhibition undertook groundbreaking fieldwork between 1910 and 1957. All defied conventions for women: some graduated as Oxford-trained anthropologists in a male-dominated academic discipline; all travelled into places ‘ladies’ didn’t go; all lived with people from very different cultures to learn from them. These women were leaders in different ways. Some survived physical hardships in their research: one was nearly thrown overboard on a sea journey and another ventured into literally uncharged parts of New Guinea. One was Māori, and became an extraordinary cross-cultural ambassador. Some found that marriage ended their professional career, and one decided against marriage to have a career. All faced significant prejudice from male colleagues, and had difficulty getting the same professional positions and funding that men would have.