Southeast Asia Museum

Information about the Southeast Asia Museum at the University of Hull.

The Southeast Asia Museum at the University of Hull

The Museum has over 3,000 artefacts demonstrating the diversity of Southeast Asian cultures and everyday life in the region; it covers all the countries of Southeast Asia. 

It is particularly strong in:

  • costume and textiles (batiks and embroidered cloth, appliqué and beadwork)
  • basketry and plaited ware
  • decorative silver and brassware
  • material culture related to livelihoods (hunting, fishing, agriculture and crafts, markets and food)
  • weaponry (including keris)
  • lacquerware
  • musical instruments
  • wooden sculptures associated with calendrical rituals, marriage and death
  • puppets, masks, dolls, toys and games.

History of the museum

The Museum was founded in the University's Centre for South-East Asian Studies in 1968 by Professor Mervyn Jaspan as an ethnographic teaching aid to illustrate his undergraduate course in the sociology and anthropology of South-East Asia. For this purpose, he used objects and artefacts from his personal collection.

In 1970 the collection became The University of Hull Collection of South-East Asian Art and Traditional Craftsmanship. From the 1970s the collection grew rapidly with donations from staff, students and associates of the Centre, bought in markets and retail outlets, acquired as gifts or made specifically for the donors.

A substantial financial donation to the Centre from Dr Roy Bruton enabled the Museum to be relocated in 2007 to a new first-floor gallery in the Wilberforce Building. It is now the Southeast Asia Museum at the University of Hull under the auspices of the Brynmor Jones Library.


The Museum has occasional exhibitions, including:

Access to the museum

The Museum and its stored items are in the process of being relocated to the Brynmor Jones Library.

We expect the Museum to be open to the public again some time in 2024, though part of it may continue to be located temporarily in the Wilberforce Building.

More information about the museum

Professor Victor T. King has written a comprehensive description and history of the museum.

Contact the museum

The Curator is Dr Monica Janowski (, assisted by Professor Victor T. King as her Deputy. 

Any students who are interested in helping with the collection should get in touch with Dr Janowski.