The new component of the World Culture Gallery showcases West African cultures, art and artifacts from the museum’s collection and donations from local immigrants.
DAVENPORT, Iowa — A new exhibit has opened at the Putnam Museum and Science Center showcasing the cultures of West Africa.
The new exhibition Akwaaba: West African Cultures opened on Wednesday, July 5 in the museum’s Gallery of World Cultures as the second centerpiece.
The exhibit’s collection is built from artifacts from Putnam’s existing collection and pieces that were donated to the exhibit by West African immigrants in the Quad City area; namely, coins donated by former US Ambassador Richard Kauzlarich purchased during his family’s stay in Togo and coins loaned by the West African community in the Quad Cities.
West Africa, as a region, is made up of many cultural groups sharing languages and ethnicities.
It was organized by Quad Citizen and Togolese immigrant Nana Ouro-Agoro, who represents the United African Organization and serves on the board of the Quad Cities Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees.
Putnam says the name Akwaaba, which means “welcome” in the Twi language spoken primarily in Ghana, was chosen by Ouro-Agoro after a trip to the museum she took with her children.
“Last year, I had the chance to visit the Putnam Museum with my children,” she recalls, “and I was amazed, delighted and impressed to see the display of West African artifacts . I just felt welcome/Akwaaba.”
Admission to the exhibit is included with general admission – $9 for adults and $8 for children, seniors, students, and military.