A light-hearted look round a collection of primitive art in a small museum in Arundel.
Exterior. L/S of a bridge, Tudor houses with exposed beams and in the background Arundel Castle. M/S of the steep hill of the high street, in the background the entrance to the castle is visible. A couple walk down the hill past a row of quaint old fashioned shops. Panning shot follows the couple as they enter one of the shops. The shop doorway is surrounded by masks, statues and other artefacts from Africa, Asia and America. Low angle C/U of the shop sign - 'The Totems Museum'. Tilt down to show a life-sized wooden African figure.
Interior. The couple enter a room lined with glass cabinets filled with primitive art and artefacts. The narrator explains the man is Frank Foster, fellow of the geological society and fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. M/S of Foster examining a wooden Chief's food bowl from the Hadia Indians of Queen Charlotte Islands, British Colombia. C/U of Foster's hand picking up a Medicine Man's rattle made by the same tribe. C/U of Foster's face as he examines the rattle.
M/S of various masks and head-dresses. Tilt down to more masks and head-dresses, all from the South Pacific. The narrator explains they are actually "preserved and decorated skulls". M/S of a man dressed as a Sioux Indian Chief pretending to be one of the mannequins on display - the narrator describes him as "a man who went in for scalps rather than skulls". A woman, Babs Coombes, enters and examines the beads worn by the chief. She then moves on to look at another exhibit. While her back is turned the chief strokes her hair and compares it to the hair hanging from the staff he is carrying and shrugs. As the woman turns to face him, the chief returns to being a 'mannequin'. C/U of the chief's feet, tilt up to his head - the narrator comments "fortunately for her that's a peace pipe he has in his hand".
C/U of a carved ancestral figure from Iceland. M/S of a young woman, Jill Forest looking at a cabinet of Eskimo artefacts. C/U of Jill's hands holding needles made from whale bone. The narrator jokes "fancy having to catch a whale every time you wife mislays the needle and thread!" Jill picks up a pair of wooden snow goggles and holds them to her eyes.
M/S of the director of the museum, James Hooper, sitting behind a desk surrounded by artefacts. He is examining an ivory goblet. The narrator explains Hooper started the collection nearly fifty years ago when his father gave him a native spear. C/U of the rare 16th century ivory goblet from Nigeria. C/U of two wooden Ibeji figures and a bronze head of a girl from Benin, Nigeria.
M/S two people wearing masks. C/U of the mask on the right, worn by Mrs. A. G. Oakes, shaking - it is a dancer's mask used in ancestral ceremonies in the South Pacific. C/U of the wooden mask on the left, worn by Mrs. H.S. Kauper, looking towards the shaking mask. According to the narrator this mask is very unusual - worn by members of the Gelede Secret Society in Nigeria, the face opens on a hinge to reveal another face underneath. The faces represent good and evil spirits. C/U of the hinged face being demonstrated.