The African Art Museum of the SMA Fathers (Society of African Missions)
23 Bliss Avenue
Tenafly, NJ 07670
Hours: 8:00am-5:00pm Seven Days a week
Please contact us for group tours.
Free admission but a donation is suggested.
This museum was established in 1980 and is one of the only rare few in the United States dedicated solely to the arts of Africa. Its permanent collections, exhibited on a rotating basis, offer a unique advantage in the study and research of sub-Saharan sculpture and painting, costumes, textiles and decorative arts, religion and folklore. The African Art Museum of the SMA Fathers is one of five museums around the world founded and maintained by the Society of African Missions, an International Roman Catholic missionary organization that serves the people of Africa.
The museum is the continued vision of SMA’s founder, Bishop Melchior de Marion Bresillac (1813-1859). The French-born clergyman urged his Society to respect and preserve the culture of the peoples they serve, the unique among the missionaries of his time. (This information is provided by the museum).
Their current exhibitions is on the “Africanizing of Christian Art” which shows the 20th Century encounter between Catholic Christianity and the visual culture of the Yoruba, a prominent west African people of southwest Nigeria under the conditions of late colonization (This information provided by the museum).
The collection contains many works in the form of masks, textile work, religious figurines and decorative arts. Each display case shows a different theme in the art. The museum is the main hallway of the church. It grounds are also nice to walk around in in the nice weather.