The Congo basin was largely unexplored until the late 19th century when a number of expeditions were launched to map the area.
One of the famous expeditions was the one organised by the American Museum of Natural History between 1909-1915.
In 1907, the president and director of the Museum approached the colonial administrators of the Congo. The aim was to catalogue the plants and animals of the basin.
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As they carried out the expedition, the scientists led by Herbert Lang and James P. Chapin, also collected some of Congo’s musical instruments, which are on display today at the Museum.
These collections were bundled up in crates and dragged through the Congo Basin and forest to Angola, Lisbon, then via a Portuguese steamer to New York.
Here are some of them.
The Azande ivory horn
Whistle belonging to a chief
Harp with Pangolin scales