Do you know that Tenafly, NJ is the home of a rare museum? This museum is devoted to African Art. This museum came into exists because of the Societas Missionum Ad Afros (SMA).
The Societas Missionum Ad Afros (SMA) is Latin for Society of African Missions; which is an international Roman Catholic missionary organization.
The SMA was established December 8, 1856 in Lyon, France by Bishop Melchior de Marion Bresillac (1813-1859); he set a precedent that was unheard of in his day, to respect and preserve the culture of the people they would serve.
For the past hundred and fifty years (150) the SMA Fathers have been returning from the mission field with amazing artwork. The Societas Missionum Ad Afros missionaries have founded five (5) museums around the world featuring African Art.
The African Art Museum of the SMA Fathers, has been in Tenafly, NJ since 1980 and the society since 1941. According to their website,“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.”
You will get to see gowns from Nigeria, carving from Chad, Liberian mask, even a wooden soccer player from Mali. As the museum director stated, “It is not about art history, it’s not about aesthetics, it’s about people – it’s about spiritual connections. This is about the soul of Africa.”
In September the museum will be presenting its 8th SMA African festival.
The African Art Museum of the SMA Fathers is located:
23 Bliss Ave, Tenafly, NJ 07670
Be proud Tenafly, we have a rare jewel among museums in our hometown.
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Tenafly, NJ. 07670