About the Collection
This website features a portion of the important collection of Himalayan and South Asian objects made by Walter Norman Koelz in his travels in the region in the 1930s and 1940s. Koelz, a University of Michigan naturalist and native of Waterloo, Michigan, made his first trip to the Himalayas in 1932. He was sent there by the University of Michigan to collect biological specimens and material culture for the University's Museums of Zoology and Anthropology. This two-year venture was the first of several extended trips that he took to the region, and it was this trip that generated most of the objects presented on this website. During his travels, Koelz acquired objects from monasteries, antiques dealers, and itinerant merchants. The result is a remarkable and well-documented collection of western Himalayan religious art and sacred and secular material culture.