The Africa Museum would not have existed without the fathers of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit. This Catholic congregation dates from 1703, but only became active in the Netherlands in 1904. As a missionary congregation, its members were mainly stationed in African countries. In the 19th century these missionaries were focussed on converting those they saw as heathens, but in the 20th century they became increasingly interested in African culture. This led to them to collect African religious objects: the start of the Africa Museum’s collection.