We know that many objects in Liverpool’s West Africa collections can be traced back to West African donors who collected and gave objects to World Museum.
The Blitz destroyed many more connections that we are only now rediscovering. In 1903, The Hon. John Mensah Sarbah (1864-1910), a Ghanaian lawyer and political leader, presented a “King’s messenger sword” to the museum. Officials sent by a king or chief to deliver messages or conduct diplomatic negotiations carried ceremonial swords, which were made of wood and covered in gold leaf, as a sign of royal authority and of their official status.
World Museum had no record of this object in the archives left in tact after the Blitz. But when Curator of Africa collections Zachary travelled to Ghana he found a certificate of thanks from the museum in the Ghanaian archives.