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The Noteworthy Indian Museum in Amsterdam, New York, takes one back to the period of the Mohawks, who once thrived in the Mohawk Valley that traverses present-day Eastern and Central New York. Its exhibits and lectures provide a rare insight into the life and lifestyles of the state's original inhabitants.More than 60,000 artifacts pertaining to the Mohawk culture are showcased in the museum. The exhibits include clay pots, stone tools, bead work, weapons, baskets, and ornaments of the medieval periods.A life-size diorama of a Mohawk hunter in traditional attire, a detailed scale model of a Mohawk longhouse, and a map showing the location of the many Indian village sites in central Mohawk Valley, are the pick among the exhibits.A cultural timeline depicts the Mohawk community from 12,000 years ago to the present. Poetry and paintings by contemporary artists add a modern perspective to the tribe’s history.The Noteworthy Indian Museum is situated just east of Route 30 on Route 67, on the corner of Prospect and Church streets. It is just one mile from Exit 27 off the NYS Thruway.The museum is open from June through August. Special arrangements are required to visit during September through June.
Middlebury is a college town. It's likely that some of the young people who have passed through Middlebury have gone on to fame, but the community's most famous inhabitant is Henry Sheldon (1821-1907), the town clerk, a lifelong bachelor, and a first class pack rat. His keen eye for weird junk would have been an asset to the nearby Shelburne Museum, but, unlike Electra Havermeyer Webb, Henry Sheldon was not wealthy. So instead of preserving steamships for posterity, he preserved ticket stubs and his own extracted teeth.
Sheldon opened his museum in a 3-story downtown house in 1882. It must have been a grand collection of nonsense in its time. Today, however, the Henry Sheldon Museum Of Vermont History, still in the same house, devotes so much space to Vermont History that there's not nearly enough space for Henry Sheldon, at least in our opinion.
Most of Henry's oddball collecting has been compressed into one room, which still offers tantalizing glimpses of what must have been -- and perhaps still is, in a storage unit somewhere -- a much larger collection.
We were told, for example, that two of the museum's more noteworthy displays were a mousetrap that kills mice by drowning them in a cylinder of water, and a pair of Calvin Coolidge's baby shoes. We couldn't find either, but we did spot a cigar holder made from a chicken leg a hook embedded in hind quarter of cow an adult-sized cradle, built for a woman named Aunt Patty, who "was said to have been not right in the head" and "a Cornwall lady's cat" stuffed by a Middlebury College student in the 1890s.
Petrified Indian Boy.
One excellent exhibit is the small "petrified Indian boy," discovered by a party of rabbit hunters in 1877, purchased it for a hundred barrels of whiskey, and exhibited in Boston until it was exposed as a fraud, whereafter it was exhibited in Canada. Sheldon bought it and put it on display in 1884, but it scared local schoolchildren so much that he moved it to the basement. Even today, it's hit or miss whether you'll see it, since it tends to shuffle between exhibits and storage status. When we visited, he was partly shoved under a glass cabinet.
The museum's most famous artifact, never actually exhibited, was the mummy of the 2-year old son of an Egyptian king. Henry Sheldon bought "Amum-Her-Khepesh-Ef," sight unseen, and was so disappointed in its drippy and tattered condition that he never displayed it. It is now buried elsewhere in town. [more on the Mummy]
Though not maintained solely to cater to the likes of us, the Sheldon Museum is a worthy stop. Check at the ticket counter what oddities are currently exhibited. And on the way out of town, pay your respects to the Mummy.
News from the Director
Our 80 th year was a very busy one. We had four exciting and packed weeks of Camps for Kids from July 16 th – August 8 th . We celebrated our 80 th Anniversary Ice Cream Social on August 8 th which was well attended and loads of fun.
This summer was the 11th year the Museum has participated in the Summer Youth Employment Program through Work Force Solutions. Many thanks to all the youth for working at our Annual Ice Cream Social event, cleaning exhibit rooms, making our grounds and lawn look great and helping us move and make our new classroom wing!
We are looking forward to a fun Fall season with camps already planned for both Columbus Day 10/14 for Super Heroes Camp and Veteran’s Day 11/11 for Edible & Unicorn Slime. Don’t miss our Annual Holiday Open House on Saturday December 14 th from 1-4pm for a tour, festive music and ornament crafts.
In February of this year the Museum and staff lost a champion, supporter, advocate, defender and mostly a friend. Robert Neil Going was a Museum Board Member since 2008 and was involved in our Museum and local history his entire lifetime. He helped us move the museum, face tragedy during the Hurricane Irene flood disaster of 2011, clean collections and settle into our new home on Church Street. He served in every capacity on the Board over the years. He and Mary became part of our professional and personal family. We miss him daily and will strive to honor his legacy in all we do.
Lastly, we were fortunate to have two collection interns this year due to the generosity of Dave Northrup and Jan Hayes. Austin Oliver and Michael Palumbo worked tirelessly accessioning donated artifacts, archives, updating signage, renovating our Community and Military exhibits and so much more. The Museum has never looked so good! Come visit us soon!!
Office space available for artist studio, not for profit, and/or start up business at a great price. Call to make appointment to tour available space (518)843-5151. Rent includes heat and electric.
Fall and Winter storage of motorcycles and recreational vehicles available for donation. Please see below guidelines and application.
Click the link below for more information.
Want to join me in supporting a good cause? I’m raising money for Walter Elwood Museum and your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate $5 or $500. Every little bit helps. Thank you for your support. I’ve included information about Walter Elwood Museum below.
The Walter Elwood Museum is a gateway to learning using the past to illuminate the present. Utilizing local experience, stories and artifacts, we examine history and culture in all its dimensions. We offer educational programs, unique collections and creative activities to enrich understanding of ourselves and each other
100 Church Street Amsterdam, NY 12010
Monday through Friday
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Evenings and Weekends
By appointment only.
Please call a few days ahead to schedule tours.
Admission is Free we appreciate a donation from each visitor.
Send us a note!Find us on Facebook: Find us on Twitter
The first museum at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was completed April 7, 1956    It was located on the southwest corner of the property, outside turn one of the famous oval, at the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road. Its exhibits included Ray Harroun's 1911 Indy 500 winning car, and a handful of other vehicles. Karl Kizer became the first curator.  When it opened, it only had six cars.  Within a number of years, dozens of collector cars were being donated and acquired. It did not take long for management to realize that the building was of insufficient size.   According to Speedway publicist Al Bloemker, by 1961 the museum was seeing an average of 5,000 visitors per week (not including month of May crowds). 
In 1975, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway broke ground on a new 96,000-square-foot (8,900 m 2 ) museum and administration building, located in the infield of the track.  The two-story white building was made of Wyoming quartz, and along with the museum, housed the Speedway's administrative offices, the ticket office, a gift shop, and the IMS photography department. It officially opened to the public on April 5, 1976,  coinciding with the year-long United States Bicentennial celebration.  It officially operated under the name Hall of Fame Museum, but was known colloquially as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. The original museum building outside turn one was kept intact and converted into additional office space.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. A plaque commemorating the Historic Landmark status for the Speedway is on display in the museum. 
In the summer of 1993, the original museum building outside of turn one was demolished. In its place a multi-million dollar administration building was erected.   The IMS administrative and ticket offices were moved out of the infield museum building, and relocated to the new admin office.
In 1993, the museum parking lot hosted the first "Indy 500 Expo" during race festivities, an outdoor interactive spectator exhibit. In 1995, it was expanded and renamed "Indy 500 FanFest". It was discontinued after 1997, but in recent years, smaller displays sponsored by Chevrolet have featured former pace cars and other exhibits.
In 2016, a revitalization and modernization project began to expand the museum's floor space and add interactive displays. In addition, in April 2016 the name of the museum was officially renamed the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, and the mission was changed "to specifically honor achievement at, and outstanding contributions to, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway." 
On display in the museum are about 75 cars at any given time.  With floor space totaling 37,500 square feet, only a small portion of the total collection can be displayed.  Frequently, cars are sent on loan for display at other museums, historical car shows, parades, and other activities.
The collection includes     over thirty Indianapolis 500 winning cars, various other Indy cars, and several racing cars from other disciplines. It also includes pace cars and passenger cars, with a particular focus on those manufactured in Indiana and by Indiana companies. Other items on display include trophies, plaques, and racing paraphernalia such as helmets, gloves, and driver's suits. Rotating exhibits include such elements as model cars, photographs, toys, and paintings. Displays include highlights of the history of Speedway ownership, the evolution of the track, and memorabilia from past years.
Visit the Hershey Story Museum in Hershey, PA
David H. Landis, early 20th century (P1666)
One of the important collections held by The Hershey Story is that of David Herr Landis. Landis was not a professional archaeologist or historian but his efforts to document and preserve American Indian artifacts from Lancaster and York counties contributed greatly to our understanding of Susquehannock Indian culture. The collection contains archaeological material excavated by Landis in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It also includes Landis’ meticulous field and research notes, catalog records, drawings and photographs.
Stone ax found on a farm adjacent to James Buchanan’s Wheatland around 1870. (L-0030) According Landis’ catalog notes, “This was one of my earliest pieces and together with #2 inspired me to greater interest in this work.” Item #2 refers to a spearhead found on Landis’ farm around 1865.
Landis lived in Manor Township, Lancaster County. His family owned a mill and farm that prospered in the tobacco business for several generations. He studied briefly at Millersville State Normal School (now Millersville University) and it equipped him to begin a life-long scientific study of the native groups that once lived in south-central Pennsylvania.
Bone comb, unfinished, 4” long. (L-0130)
The Susquehannock Indians were part of the Eastern Woodland’s tradition that flourished along the Susquehanna River from 1575 to 1680. North American rivers provided routes inland for English and Dutch explorers and traders. Material remains, carefully excavated by Landis, included both native made artifacts and trade goods, which confirmed contact between Susquehannocks and European traders. Brass kettles, glass beads and iron axes were some of the European items prized by the Susquehannock Indians.
Delft krug or jug, missing handle, c. 1600-1625. From Washington Boro, Lancaster County. (L-1139)
Life along the Susquehanna River underwent great change during the early 1900s. Several hydroelectric dams were constructed on the river between 1910 and 1931. This action threatened American Indian archaeological sites and rock carvings that would be flooded by reservoirs formed behind the dams. Landis in conjunction with Dr. Donald Cadzow and others from the Pennsylvania Historical Commission (now the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission) set out to preserve the rock carvings, or petroglyphs, before the dams were set into operation.
Rock carving downstream from Neff’s (Walnut) Island, 1907. (P1717)
Landis had previously documented several rock formations along the Susquehanna River that contained petroglyphs in his 1907 self-published book, Photographs of Inscriptions Made By Our Aborigines of Rocks in the Susquehanna River, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He made careful record of different symbols using a box camera and glass plate negatives. This was no easy feat. In addition to the camera and glass plates, Landis also took lamp black, vinegar and chalk. These materials were applied to the surface of the rock to highlight the carved shapes and increased contrast which produced a better photograph. Additionally, many of the rock formations were only accessible by boat!
Rock carving on Big Indian rock, 1907. Note the boat in the background. (P1721)
Bent on contributing a mite to our collection of local history, and more permanently preserve the rapidly disappearing traces of our aborigines, it was not work but my pleasure and recreation, to gather, from time to time, during the past nine years these photographs.
-David H. Landis, 1907
Some of Landis’ contemporaries were merely interested in looting burial grounds and other American Indian sites to sell relics for profit. In contrast, Landis’ work and knowledge helped to preserve and contributed greatly to what was known about Susquehannock Indian culture. His interest and respect for a vanished way of life is evident in his research notes and writings on the subject.
Projectile points from Fort Demolished, Lancaster County, PA, c. 1300-1650 (L-0096)
For further research
American Indian Boarding Schools: An Exploration of Global Ethnic and Cultural Cleansing. Developed by the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways.
Lissa Edwards, "To Educate the Indian", MyNorth, Mach 29, 2017. : At the Mount Pleasant Indian School they took you away from your family, made you stop speaking your native tongue and disciplined you like a soldier. But among the memories of drills and deprivation, graduates also tell unexpected stories of sanctuary and shelter. This story was published in the January 2002 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan&rsquos Magazine.
Casino Gambling. An overview courtesy of the Central Michigan University Clarke Historical Library.
Chippewa Tribe via Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906 and AccessGeneology.
Controversies and Cases : the Indigenous Peoples of Michigan. Courtesy of the Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society.
Federal Education Policy & Off-Reservation Schools,1870-1933. An overview courtesy of the Central Michigan University Clarke Historical Library.
An Historical Analysis of the Saginaw, Black River and Swan Creek Chippewa Treaties of 1855 and 1864. A report by Anthony G. Gulig, Ph.D., Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater commissioned for the State of Michigan, July 30, 2007.
"The Huron Indians", The Mitten, May 2013.
Indian Villages, Towns, and Settlements of Michigan via Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. and AccessGeneology.
Land Distribution and Ownership on the Isabella County Indian Reservation. An overview courtesy of the Central Michigan University Clarke Historical Library.
Michigan Indian Tribes via Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America . Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953. and AccessGeneology.
Michigan Native American Tuition Waiver Program. An overview courtesy of the Central Michigan University Clarke Historical Library.
Michigan Odawa History Project. We will be uploading academic articles, legal materials, and other documents on this page in conjunction with the Center&rsquos ongoing project to collect materials related to the histories of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. These materials will, of course, include information about other tribes as well. Part of TurtleTalk. Michigan State University College of Law Indigenous Law and Policy Center Blog.
Morality vs. Legality: Michigan&rsquos Burt Lake Indians and the Burning of Indianville by Matthew J. Friday. Relates the story of how Burt Lake Indians were driven from their land on Burt Lake and their attempts since then to receive federal recognition. Michigan Historical Review 33:1 (Spring 2007), 87-97.
Native American Fishing Rights in Michigan. An overview courtesy of the Central Michigan University Clarke Historical Library.
Native American History in Michigan. Written for school children by the University of Michigan.
Native American Treaties: Their Ongoing Importance to Michigan Residents. When Indians and Europeans first met on the North American continent they brought distinct and very different world views to the encounter. Over several centuries the Indian communities of North America and the European immigrants who settled on this continent shared very mixed experiences that ranged from war to negotiation. This web page focuses on the negotiations that have occurred between Euro-Americans and three Native American communities, the Chippewa, Odawa, and Potawatomi. This web site explores the treaties that effect the people, Indian and Euro-American, who live in Michigan, and offers six case studies to explain how treaties signed between 1795 and 1864 had relevance in the past and continue to have importance today. Also see Understanding Treaties and The Historical Context Preceding Treaty Negotiation in the 1820s : An essay by Joshua D. Cochran and Frank Boles. All courtesy of The Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University (Mt. Pleasant, MI).
Native Americans in Michigan. A site dedicated to those with Native American heritage and providing an online portal to documents for researching your family lines. Maintained by Patricia Wazny-Hamp.
Native Americans in the Great Lakes Region. This page was created for GEO 333: Geography of Michigan and the Great Lakes Regiona courtesy by Dr. Randall J. Schaetzl of Michigan State University.
Odawa Indians History. Eric Hemenway, Director of Repatriation, Archives and Records.
Ojibwa entry by Loriene Roy from Countries and Their Cultures.
Ojibwa entry from New World Encyclopedia.
Ottawa Tribe entry via Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. and AccessGenealogy.
Potawatomi entry from New World Encyclopedia.
The Potawatomi Experience of Federal Removal Policy . An overview courtesy of the Central Michigan University Clarke Historical Library.
Potawatomi Tribe via Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. and AccessGenealogy.
Leslie Askwith, "The Awakening: Native Americans Share Their Culture Through Powwow Regalia", My North, April 1, 2008. This article was also featured in the March 2008 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan&rsquos Magazine.
Tim Bebeau, "A Life of Subsistence Fishing on Grand Traverse Bay", MyNorth, June 6, 2016. This feature about life on the Linda Sue and fishing on Grand Traverse Bay was originally featured in the June 2016 issue of Traverse Magazine.
Digging in Storage: Notable and Noteworthy Objects from the ASM Collections
See also Curator's Choice for even more interesting, unusual, and curious items.
Elephant Slabs. The so-called "elephant slabs" are two small pieces of sandstone which are inscribed with various geometric and figurative shapes, including two that look like elephants. The slabs are reported to have been found by a youth named Dick (Richard) Terrell in the early 1900s at the Flora Vista Ruin, an Ancestral Pueblo (Anasazi) site located on a bluff above the Animas River, opposite the town of Flora Vista, in northwestern New Mexico. Around 1910, the slabs were acquired by a Farmington, New Mexico businessman named Avery Monroe Amsden.
In 1929, one of the slabs (GP52822) was acquired by Harold S. Gladwin for his Gila Pueblo Archaeological Foundation in Globe, Arizona. In the same year, the Flora Vista Ruin was visited and photographed by Ted Amsden, Avery Amsden’s son, for the Gila Pueblo Archaeological Survey. GP52822 was donated to the Arizona State Museum by Gladwin when Gila Pueblo was dissolved in 1950. The second slab was given by Amsden to the southwestern archaeologist, Earl H. Morris, sometime before Amsden's death in 1947. Morris, in turn, donated it to the Arizona State Museum in 1953. Its catalog number is A-11946.
Though the sandstone could certainly have come from the area, the incised slabs are, in fact, not actual artifacts produced by the ancient people of the Four Corners region. The images—elephants, birds, a mountain lion(?), geometric shapes (including some that resemble cattle brands)—are deeply and precisely incised, probably with a metal tool. It is still not known exactly what the slabs’ origins or purpose were. Intentional hoax? Practical joke? Treasure map? Mormon-produced tablets? The unknowns have made them popular objects of conjecture and have, over the years, captured the imaginations of mystery writers, treasure hunters, and conspiracy theorists.
What do most archaeologists think about them? Experts who have examined the Elephant Slabs have concluded they are fakes, with good reasons:
- Written accounts of their discovery disagree on important details.
- Every other “ancient” object from mainland North America purported to depict European or Middle Eastern writing has proven to be a hoax, although authentic objects bearing Norse writing have been recovered from Greenland.
- Research over the last several decades has shown that mammoths died off in North America thousands of years before the pueblo at Flora Vista was occupied.
- No ancient object bearing similar symbols—or depictions of elephants—has ever been found in the Southwest by a professional archaeologist.
Historical Context: In 1864, a carved tusk with a depiction of a mammoth was discovered in La Madeleine France. One of the earliest human artifacts found, it was also the first to indicate the co-existence of man and now extinct ice age animals. This dramatic find was of tremendous popular interest and led to speculation over the age and origin of American archaeology. What followed was a flurry of controversial "discoveries" of ancient artifacts in America, now known to be frauds that in some cases were perpetrated by the archaeologists themselves. Several of these “artifacts” contained depictions of elephants, like the Davenport Elephant Pipes (d. 1877), the Lenape stone (d. 1872), and the Holly Oak pendant (d. 1864).
ASM Catalog No. GP52822
Stone slab with incised symbols and images of animals
15.6 cm long, 14.6 cm wide, 0.9 cm thick
Reportedly found near Flora Vista, New Mexico
Gift of Gila Pueblo Archaeological Foundation, 1950
ASM Catalog No. A-11946
Stone slab with incised symbols and images of animals
36.0 cm long, 19.0 cm wide, 1.0 cm thick
Reportedly found near Flora Vista, New Mexico
Gift of Earl H. Morris, 1953
Pictures of the elephant slabs, "translations,” and interpretations of the incised motifs have been published in numerous places, including Fantasies of Gold: Legends of Treasures and How They Grew by E.B. "Ted" Sayles with Joan Ashby Henley (pp. 87-102), University of Arizona Press, Tucson. 1968.
Ansel Adams's Dinnerware Set. Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984) was a landscape photographer and environmentalist known for his black-and-white images of the American West. Here you see laid out a dinnerware set owned by famed photographer. His photographic archive is the cornerstone on which the University of Arizona's Center for Creative Photography (CCP) was established in 1975. At the same time that Adams's photographic archive went to CCP, this dinnerware set came to ASM. He commissioned the pieces from renowned San Ildefonso potter Maria Martinez and her husband, Julian, in 1929. In 1950, Adams commissioned several replacement plates from Maria who was by then working with her daughter-in-law, Santana Martinez. Julian had passed away in 1943 . (1977-63)
Chancay Manta, Peru, 1000-1476 CE. A cotton/wool textile, composed of five strips joined at the edges, is rich red in color (color photo coming soon) with polychrome feline motifs (probably jaguar) used possibly as a blanket, wrap-around skirt, or wall hanging. The Chancay is a major ceramic style and kingdom centered on the Chancay and Chillon valleys on the northern coast of Peru dating to the Late Intermediate Period (ca. 1000-1476 CE). The Chancay kingdom was conquered by the Inca empire around 1476 CE. This object was donated to ASM by Frederick R. Pleasants ca. 1959. (ASM A-24601, slit tapestry weave, 205 cm long, 260 cm wide, cotton warp, wool weft)
Clovis Bone Shaft Wrench (and Covis point), Cochise County, Arizona, about 13,000 years old. This artifact is the only known complete one yet discovered. A tool of Paleoindian mammoth hunters, this object is made of bone, probably mammoth rib or long bone. It exhibits beveling and polish on the upper and lower interior surfaces of the "eye" of the wrench, suggesting possible use in straightening spear shafts which were then used to hunt mammoth and other now-extinct Pleistocene megafauna. Discovered by a UA Department of Anthropology expedition led by Dr. Vance Haynes to the Clovis site of Murray Springs, San Pedro River Valley, southern Arizona, it came into the ASM collections in 1967. (ASM A-32640, 25.9 cm long, 5.8 cm wide, 2.1 cm thick)
Coronation Procession Set. This set came to ASM in 1968 as a gift from Mrs. John Wells Heard (Daisy C. Heard, 1906-1997) (no known relation to Dwight and Mae Heard, founders of the Heard Museum in Phoenix). She was present at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953, and purchased what she claimed was one of two plaster sets made to commemorate the event. Mr. and Mrs. Heard lived primarily in Texas, much of the 1940s and 1950s in San Antonio. Mr. Heard was a cattleman. He died in 1956. At the time of the donation, Mrs. Heard was living in Tucson.
This set is fantastic but completely outside of ASM's current and anticipated future scope of collecting. It is on our list of items to potentially deaccession. According to ASM's deaccession policy, we are to first seek to transfer deaccessioned items to other public institutions in the state. Stay tuned to see where this set might end up! (AP-2089)
Note: Hover your cursor over the image to halt the slideshow.
Rabbit Nets. This net is made of mostly knotted human hair with yucca fiber cordage and was used by a Hohokam community to corral and hunt jackrabbits. Discovered in 1962, it is from a cave in the Altar Valley, southwest of Tucson, and dates from 1250-1450 CE. Rabbit hunts involved driving the critters toward a long, low net and then clubbing them as they became entangled. The net in this photo, unfurled in 1967 by Curator of Exhibits Ernie Leavitt (foaeground), assisted by Robert Medieros, measures 43 inches wide and 165 feet long. Several prehistoric rabbit nets have been found in southwestern caves. ASM has 15 nets and 42 net fragments. (Photo by Helga Teiwes, 1967. ASM 15920)
Seed Jar, Agua Caliente Plain Type, Early Formative, Tucson Basin. This is one of the oldest southwestern vessels in the ASM collection and one of the earliest yet found in the region, dating to approximately 450 CE but representing others like it dating as far back as ca. 50 CE. This seed jar was found in a pit house at the Stone Pipe Site, near Prince Road and the I-10 frontage road in Tucson. It came into the ASM collections in 1998 as most do, by way of the archaeological repository, discovered as a result of an urban expansion project. Four-fifths of the objects in the ASM collections are of an archaeological nature/context. ASM is the largest and busiest state-run archaeological repository in the nation. (ASM #98-136-177, 29.7 cm high, 31.3 cm diameter)
The North American Indian by Edward S. Curtis, published 1907-1930. ASM holds a complete set of Curtis’s massive life’s work: a series of 20 volumes of text describing and 20 portfolios of photogravures illustrating the Indian peoples of the United States and Alaska. Lauded and decried, the iconic, sepia-toned images created by the famed photographer have fascinated generations of audiences and, for better or worse, continue to influence how people around the world think of American Indians. ASM’s is one of only three complete sets in the state of Arizona. Written, illustrated, and published by Edward S. Curtis, edited by Frederick Webb Hodge, foreword by Theodore Roosevelt. Field research conducted under the patronage of J. Pierpont Morgan. The text volumes were donated in 1957 to the UA Department of Anthropology by Walter R. Bimson, president of the Valley National Bank. The portfolios came to ASM in the 1970s from Watson Smith, who acquired them from an out-of-business rare-book seller in Boston, the Charles Lauriat Company.
Fragment of a Sacred Fur Robe of the Ninth Panchen Lama, Tibetan, ca. 1930. The fur robe was in the possession of the Ninth Panchen Lama, Qujie Nima (1883-1937), the abbot and second-highest religious leader of Tibet, when he fled his country in 1933 because he believed the Thirteenth Dalai Lama was attempting to poison him. For protection, the Panchen Lama joined a Yale-sponsored expedition traveling in Tibet that was led by scholar Eugene Lamb and accompanied by adventurer John A. Logan III. The team had been in Tibet for about a year by the time it encountered the Panchen Lama. In gratitude for the group’s help, the Panchen Lama gave a portion of his fur robe to Mr. Logan. Other fragments were given to fellow Tibetans in the party. The entire robe was made up of approximately 20,000 tiny fur fragments collected from an estimated 5,000 foxes and sewn together by young girls. The Ninth Panchen Lama died in exile in China in 1937. ASM received the robe section in 1965 from John A. Logan III, who was living in Tucson at the time. Logan was the grandson of the Civil War general John A. Logan. (ASM Catalog No. E-6501, fragment size is approximately 24" x 28").
Note: Hover your cursor over the image to halt the slideshow.
Glass Stereo Photos of Egypt, early 20 th century. ASM’s photographic collection includes a stereoscopic glass slide viewer and 160 glass stereoscopic slides. An ancestor of modern 3D image technology, the viewer was made by Franke and Heidecke of Braunschweige, Germany. The slides were taken in 1928 by the father of former UA economics professor John M. Frikart, who donated the collection in 1963. Stereoscopy is a technique for creating the illusion of depth, presenting two offset images separately to the left eye and to the right eye of the viewer. The two images are then combined by the brain, giving the perception of 3D depth. The slides come complete with typed notes about each and hand drawn maps that show the places visited and photographed. All slides are in excellent condition. (ASM Catalog No. E-5626 and PIX-521-x-1 to 160)
Tapa Cloths. Made of wood bark, tapa cloths are produced by peoples of the islands of the Pacific. They are used as clothing, bed cloths, and other household purposes, but they can also have ceremonial functions. The 20 in ASM's collection are from Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, and Hawaii, and were collected in the 1930s and 40s. Conservator Dr. Christina Bisulca (center) is examining a tapa made of pounded paper mulberry bark. Helping her are Gina Watkinson (top of the frame) and Kate Acuña (bottom of the frame) from the ASM conservation lab.
Ancient Mediterranean Collections. Click the link below to see highlights from ASM’s collection of some 520 ancient Near Eastern, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman objects. The vast majority of these were acquired in the early days of the museum’s history from the 1890s to the 1930s through exchange, donation, and less commonly, by purchase. Each has an individual story to tell—where it was made, where it was found, its historical importance, or of its collector.
Man in the Maze Plaque. This is an Akimel O’odham (Pima) plaque made around 1900-1915 and collected by Perry Merrell Williams of Maricopa, Arizona. Sadly, Mr. Williams did not record its maker.
Williams bought and sold O’odham basketry after he arrived in Maricopa to work on the railroad around 1880. In 1917, he loaned his incomparable basketry collection to the Arizona State Museum, and in 1968 his son, Perry M. Williams, Jr., turned the loan into a gift.
This piece is significant because it’s the earliest known example of the Man-in-the-Maze motif, the iconic O’odham cultural symbol, on a basket.
The weaving technique is coiling, one of the four major basketry techniques. The other three are plaiting, wicker and twining. The materials here are willow for the lighter field, and devil’s claw for the black. The foundation for this basket is bundles of cattail stems.
Notice that the person is wearing a skirt or perhaps a kilt! This feature was first pointed out by O’odham attendees at a Four Southern Tribes meeting to discuss the plans for ASM’s permanent basket exhibit Woven through Time, which opened in 2017. The figure is usually identified as I’itoi, the O’odham Elder Brother. Is that who the weaver intended to represent here? There are a number of variations in describing the maze symbolism, but O’odham often describe it as the path through life, with different twists, turns and choices.
Contemporary Tohono O’odham basketry artist Terrol Dew Johnson learned to weave the man-in-the-maze design from his mentor, Margaret Acosta, who was well known for her maze baskets. He once commented that it is a very difficult design to render, and from personal experience, understands that weavers believe they have really “made it” once they master the technique.
Read more about Perry Merrell Williams:
2013 Five Collectors & 500 Baskets at the Arizona State Museum, American Indian Art magazine, Winter 2013 (volume 39, issue 1), pp. 34-43.
Mojave and Quechan Figurines. Mojave and Quechan people from the Lower Colorado River have a long tradition of figurative ceramics. Beginning in the late 19th century, with the coming of the railroad, women from both of these Yuman-speaking tribes began to make and sell ceramic figures and other wares for sale. One way they sold them was to set up at the railroad stops in Yuma and Needles, offering their pottery along with beadwork and other crafts to travelers they encountered there.
The artisans dressed their low-fire redware figures with traditional, minimal clothing and beaded ornaments of the Yuman peoples of the Lower Colorado River. They decorated the figures with typical body paint designs, and added black facial marks to indicate tattoos. Long black hair, usually horse hair, was glued on and added a further realistic touch. Other common additions included pots balanced on heads, babes in arms, and for men, bows and arrows.
Mojave pottery figures are distinct in having additional yellow ochre coloration on the bodies.
ASM received a group of 25 Quechan doll figures that were collected around 1900 by our first curator Herbert Brown (served 1893-1912). For a portion of his tenure at ASM, Brown split his time between Tucson and Yuma, serving as the warden of the territorial prison in Yuma from 1898-1902. An assortment of these figures appeared on the front cover of the November 1959 issue of Arizona Highways magazine containing an extensive article about ASM.
These figure continued to be made by a few potters into the 1960s. One of the last Mojave potters to make them was Annie Fields. Through the years, other examples have been donated, and today number 44---34 of which are Quechan and the remaining ten are Mojave.
For more information about this Southwest ceramic tradition, see Furst, J. (2001). Mojave pottery, Mojave people : The Dillingham Collection of Mojave ceramics (1st ed.). Santa Fe, N.M.: School of American Research Press.
Majolica Flower Urn, ca. 1850. Spaniards brought the majolica decorative pottery tradition to Mexico where it became known as talavera--after the town in Spain noted for its production of fine ceramics. Majolica production found a home in Puebla because of its rich clay deposits. Today, Puebla remains the primary center of talavera production and distribution. We might imagine a well-heeled family in mid-nineteenth-century Mexico filling this urn with holiday poinsettias in preparation for the traditional posadas that marked the nine days before Christmas. Its donor Eman Beck, owned the Sopori Ranch in southern Arizona in the 1940s and was a major collector of Mexican colonial art. (ASM E-4724)
Our Lady of Sorrows Retablo, ca. 1826-65. In difficult and uncertain times, we are reminded how different peoples may find solace in the religious and spiritual dimensions of their cultures. Here the Virgin Mary contemplates what has happened to her son and expresses the sorrowful pain of a loving mother. For many who grow up in the traditions of Hispanic Catholicism, Our Lady of Sorrows shows the way to the fullness of grace through selflessness and generosity. But these virtues extend beyond any one faith community. Objects like this can remind us that kindness and charity in the face of sorrow and adversity can foster peace and goodwill among all peoples.
Our Lady of Sorrows Retablo, ca. 1826-65
Attributed to José Rafael Aragón
Painted on gessoed pine
Spanish-American, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Gift of Ernest N. Stanton, 1962
Catalog No. E-5342
This Classic Period Navajo (Diné) sarape is woven of handspun vegetal-dyed and raveled red cochineal-dyed yarn (tested in 1982 under the direction of Navajo textile scholar Joe Ben Wheat). The slit in the center is a Spider Woman hole. This sarape was collected around 1870 by John Sanford Mason (1824–1897), a West Point graduate and career Army officer who served in the Mexican-American War and in the Union Army during the Civil War. From March 7 to July 21, 1865, Mason was commander of the “District of Arizona.” He died a brigadier general in 1897 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. In 2012, this and 4 other Navajo textiles went to Amsterdam to be a featured in an exhibit at De Nieuwe Kerk Museum.
Classic Period Sarape
167 x 131 cm
Wool, Cochineal and Indigo dye
Collected by Lieutenant John Sanford Mason around 1870
Museum purchase from Major Ennalls Waggaman, 1954
Catalog No. E-2724
The saguaro design on this basket is rare, if not unique. Nothing says “Arizona” like the saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea), and nothing says “a fantastic Arizona basket” like this coiled willow bowl that is probably Yavapai. The basketry of Western Apaches and Yavapais can be difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish. The two groups were interned together at San Carlos, Arizona from 1875 to around 1900, the heyday of their fine coiled basketry production. No doubt there was cross-fertilization of designs. Apache and Yavapai weavers employed the same materials and techniques of manufacture. There are, however, features that can distinguish Apache from Yavapai styles. Yavapai weavers tend to make greater use of negative designs, crosses, and star and floral patterns, and emphasize overall symmetry. Both groups attach high significance to the number four, reflected here in the four-armed concentric motifs. The Arizona State Museum received this basket as a gift in 2012 from Betty Jo Barney, whose husband, Richard, was a University of Arizona alumnus (class of 1954). Richard had received the basket as a gift from his mother, Hazel McQuary.
Saguaro Basketry Bowl
Willow, Devil’s Claw
Probably Yavapai, 1900-1920
16.5 in diameter
Gift of Betty Jo Barney, 2012
Ancestral Pueblo Flutes from Broken Flute Cave. Click below to learn about four wooden flutes dated to 620–670 CE (Common Era=AD). These flutes are, in fact, the oldest known wooden flutes yet discovered in North America.
African Baskets. ASM’s world holdings include basketry from Africa, Central and South American, Asia, Europe, and the Pacific. Pictured here is a coiled plaque from the Hausa Tribe of Nigeria, ca. 1970. (ASM 1997-156-99)
Arizona State Museum is home to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of American Indian basketry and fiber art—35,000 specimens representing nearly every major indigenous basket-making culture in North America and dating back some 7,000 years. Click here to see some examples of Hopi basketry: https://statemuseum.arizona.edu/online-exhibit/finger-collection-hopi-basketry
Coiled Squash Blossom Tray. The squash blossom is one of the most common traditional designs on Akimel O’odham and Tohono O’odham coiled baskets. It represents the flower of the plants that are important to the O’odham for food, making gourd rattles, and other purposes. The term may have originally come from a trader's imagination or from a weaver interpreting her own work. In 1902, ethnologist Frank Russell recorded the name for this design as Si’sitcutfik or “very much figured.” Ha:l Heosig is a current O'odham language translation for “squash blossom.” Regardless of the origin, “squash blossom” has been used to describe this particular O’odham specialty for at least a hundred years. It is common to further distinguish the design by the number of petals or “points.” This finely woven Akimel O’odham tray has a six-pointed blossom.
No weaver’s name was attached to this tray when Director Byron Cummings acquired it for ASM in 1931, purchased from Anna (Mrs. S.E.) Fullen who ran a curio shop next to the San Marcos Hotel in Chandler. More information came to light, including the identity of the weaver, when curator Diane Dittemore visited the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) in the summer of 2018. She had been invited to assess their collection of southwestern Native basketry. Included in the BMA collection is an outstanding group of Akimel O’odham baskets, a gift from the estate of former Baltimore resident Florence Reese Winslow. The accessions records include dozens of letters from Mrs. Fullen to Winslow, who had lived in Hayden, Arizona in the late 1920s-early 1930s with her husband who was chief of surgery at the hospital. The newsy letters contain a trove of information about the O’odham weavers whose baskets Anna Fullen carried, and clearly sold in large quantities to Florence WInslow. One can imagine that collecting basketry was a way for this big city resident to adjust to life in a small Arizona mining town.
To her great delight, Dittemore discovered in these letters references to ASM Director Byron Cummings, including that he had purchased a six-point squash blossom basket made by one Lena Wiston.
Knowing that the people at the Huhugam Heritage Center (HHC) would be quite interested in this BMA collection and attendant accession records, Dittemore arranged for copies of the letters to be provided to HHC archives. Professional staff at the time hoped to be able to arrange a visit to see the baskets themselves. She also arranged for copies to be sent to the Chandler Historical Society, whose innovative website “Chandlerpedia” provided important information about the Fullens and their curio business.
For more information about Anna Fullen, you may consult Chandlerpedia online.
History of Millsboro
Wharton’s Bluff is well known for its beautiful waterfront views and close proximity to Lewes, Rehoboth and Bethany beaches, but did you know that Wharton’s Bluff’s hometown of Millsboro also has a fascinating history?
Millsboro’s history dates back to the 1600s, when Nanticoke Indians lived on the land. In fact, there has been a thriving rural farming community in the Millsboro area for more than a century! There are a number of well-known historical sites that are on the National Register of Historic Places in the Millsboro area, which are a testament to its rich and treasured past.
There are many benefits to living in the charming town of Millsboro—from the advantages of waterfront living to day trips spent learning about the rich heritage of the town itself!
The Indian River Hundred
The Indian River Hundred was created in 1706 from its parent hundred, the Lewes & Rehoboth Hundred. A hundred is a political subdivision of a county, initially created by the state of Maryland for tax and judicial purposes. A hundred is essentially a modern day election district within a county however, the size of a hundred has been debated as an area that contained 100 families, able to raise an army of 100 men, or fit 100 farms.
Millsboro was established in 1792, primarily due to the efforts of Elisha Dickerson, who built a dam to shut off the headwaters of the Indian River at Rock Hole. He continued to build a large sawmill and gristmill, two of the 15 mills within a 4-mile radius of Millsboro. The area was known as Rock Hole Mills at the time, due to the number of mills in the area, in addition to the area’s close proximity to Rock Hole.
Millsborough and the Railroad
The area’s name was later changed to Millsborough in 1809, and then shortened to its current name of Millsboro in 1837, when Millsborough and the nearby town of Washington became one.
Millsboro was later founded in 1860, and incorporated in 1893. The town had always been considered a market hub for the surrounding area with its riverside location, therefore the installation of a railroad shortly after the Civil War seemed like a logical step. The railroad helped Millsboro continually develop and grow through the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries as the town’s main mode of transporting their goods to larger markets.
The Wreath & Broiler Industries
Millsboro joined the holly wreath industry in the early 20 th century, and distributed their wreaths across the nation into the 1950s. Over the next century, the lumber and agriculture (specifically poultry) industries emerged in Millsboro.
The broiler industry emerged in Millsboro in the early 1930s, as the poultry business had many advantages over the other agricultural practices in the industry. The broiler business was a year round industry—unlike many popular agricultural products in the area that were primarily seasonal. By the 1940s, Millsboro’s own Townsend Inc. had risen to become the nation’s first fully-integrated poultry company and the largest local poultry company in Millsboro area. As a fully-integrated poultry company, Townsend Inc. had every step of the poultry-production process under their control—from egg hatching, to growing grain for their poultry, raising the poultry and shipping the final product to market.
Notable Historic Sites of Millsboro
Millsboro is a distinctive town with a celebrated history and a treasured past, evident through the town’s many historical sites.
One of our favorite sites is found in Cupola Park—a waterfront park on the Indian River, home to a foundry and forge during the Civil War. This park is also home to the largest bald cypress tree in Delaware, and it is a great place for a family barbecue, shoreline fishing and picnicking!
The Nanticoke Indian Museum is another well-known and beloved Millsboro attraction. This museum is more than just a national historic landmark it is the only Native American Museum in the state of Delaware! The museum features artifacts and displays of the Nanticoke tribe that occupied what is now Millsboro centuries before it was founded! Check out their website to learn more about this unique and noteworthy museum.
The Perry-Shockley House is a historic home on Millsboro’s Main Street, and part of the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1901 in the Queen Anne style by John Perry, and an enduring illustration of early 20 th century architecture.
As you can see, Millsboro is home to many historic sites—find even more local historic sites here !
Today Millsboro is a thriving, exciting community to be a part of from the downtown business district and beautiful scenery to its unique waterfront views and notable historic sites, Millsboro has it all.
There are many reasons to buy a home at Wharton’s Bluff, and the charming yet vibrant historic town of Millsboro is one of them! Check out Christopher Companies’ new homes today and experience all that Wharton’s Bluff and Millsboro have to offer!
Anthropology Collections Overview
Currently there are approximately 57,000 catalogued items or lots in archaeology, with approximately 36,000 catalogued items in ethnology.
The Museum’s strong but focused archaeology collections are heavily weighted toward North America (82% of archaeology holdings), with smaller but important collections from Central and South America (14% of archaeology holdings). Most of the remaining material is from the Old World, primarily consisting of Paleolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age to Roman European items.
Within North America, major strengths are in the archaeology of Wisconsin (77% of MPM North American archaeology holdings), Illinois, and the American Southwest. Special strengths include material from major excavations in Wisconsin including the Aztalan, McClaughry, Nitschke, Kletzien, Neale, Utley, Green Lake, Buffalo Lake, White, Polander, Walker-Hooper, McCauley, Mound Beach, Osceola, Prawatschke, Cyrus Thomas, Trowbridge, Shrake, Nicholls, Schwert, Trempeleau Lakes, Midway, Schmelz, Raisbeck, Kratz Creek, Karow, Ross, Hilgen Spring Park, and Spencer Lake and DuBay sites or mound groups, among others. Included are numerous type sites and type collections for major periods of Wisconsin prehistory. Most of these materials are separately published as site reports, either through the Bulletin of the Milwaukee Public Museum, or in Wisconsin Archaeologist. While not in Wisconsin per se, MPM also houses important and major excavated collections from the Riverside Site, immediately across the border in Michigan.
U.S. State Archaeology
Non-Wisconsin North American archaeological collections are organized by state, and include significant collections of Mandan village material, Middle Woodland Hopewellian material from both Illinois and Ohio, a small but valuable collection of material from Spiro Mound in Oklahoma, and sizeable collections of ceramics from both Mississippian period sites in the American midcontinent and ancestral Puebloan sites in the American Southwest. Other areas are more sparsely represented, with 48 states represented (as of 12/2011, Delaware and New Hampshire are not represented in the collections). The Museum also holds important North American collections by artifact type, including the celebrated George West pipe collection (see Bulletin of the Milwaukee Public Museum, Vol. 17, parts 1 & 2), separately inventoried and stored, and major collections of copper implements groundstone tools, and grooved axes. Particularly noteworthy are unique collections such as the Hopewell-period figurines from Knight Mounds, Illinois, and the matched set of large effigy pipes from the Emerald Mound in Mississippi.
Latin American Archaeology
Central and South American archaeology holdings include: collections of Peruvian featherwork Peruvian mummies pre-Columbian ceramics numbering more than 7,000 items gold from Peru, Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia and a wide variety of pre-Columbian artifacts in other media, including shell, stone and wood. The Peruvian archaeological featherwork and textiles are particularly noteworthy. The holdings include a significant collection of vessels from Casas Grandes in northern Mexico, as well as a strong ceramic collection from South America, with special emphasis on Chimu vessels from the North Coast and Nazca vessels from the South Coast, and excavated material from Atitlan, Bilbao, and Chinkultik. Maya materials include a series of Jaina figurines, along with significant materials from West Mexico. The Museum also holds a small collection of archaeological material from the Caribbean, particularly Grenada.
Old World Archaeology
Old World archaeology collections focus on European paleolithic sites, with special emphasis on the French middle and upper paleolithic, as well as smaller collections of paleolithic through neolithic materials from Hungary. The Museum also holds collections of lake-dweller materials from Switzerland, mostly from the Robenhausen site, and lithic collections from the Fayum of Egypt. Additional Old World archaeological material – Greek, Etruscan, Roman, Cypriot, and Maltese - is housed in the Anthropology department.
North American Ethnology
MPM holds outstanding ethnological collections with worldwide scope. About 62% of current holdings represent North American groups. Particularly strong collections represent Great Lakes tribes, groups from the American Southwest (especially the Hopi), Plains groups (especially the Sioux and Blackfeet), Northwest Coast groups (especially the Kwakiutl), West Coast groups (including the Pomo, Washo, and Paiute), and as a variety of Iroquoian, Subarctic, and Arctic groups. Groups represented include the Abnaki, Achomawi, Acoma, Alabama, Apache, Arapaho, Arikara, Assiniboin, Attacopa (Atakapa), Bannock, Blackfeet, Brule Sioux, Caddo, California, Catawba, Cayuga, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Chickasaw, Chippewa (Ojibwa), Chitimacha, Choctaw, Chumash, Cochiti, Comanche, Coyetero Apache, Crow, Dakota Sioux, Delaware, Digger, Fox, Flathead, Gros Ventre, Haida, Haliwa, Havasupai, Hidatsa, Hoonah, Hopi and Hopi-Tewa, Houma, Hupa, Huron, Iowa, Iroquois, Isleta, Jemez, Jicarilla Apache, Kawaiisu, Kickapoo, Kiowa, Klamath, Klikitat, Koasati, Laguna, Lipan Apache, Mahican, Maidu, Makah, Mandan, Maricopa, Mascouten, Mattaponi, Menominee, Mescalero Apache, Miami, Missouri, Miwok, Modoc, Mohave, Mohawk, Mono, Montauk, Navajo, Nez Perce, Oglala Sioux, Omaha, Oneida, Onondaga, Osage, Oto, Ottawa, Paiute, Pamunkey, Panamint, Papago, Passamaquoddy, Paviotso, Pawnee, Penobscot, Peoria, Picuris, Piegan, Pima, Plains Cree, Pomo, Ponca, Potawatomi, Puyallup, Quapaw, Quinault, Salish, San Ildefonso, San Juan, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santa Domingo, Santa Ynez, Santee Sioux, Sauk, Scaticook, Seminole, Seneca, Shawnee, Shinnecock, Shoshone, Stockbridge, Tenino, Tesuque, Teton Sioux, Tewa, Tlingit, Tonkawa, Tsimshian, Tulare, Tunica, Tuscarora, Umatilla, Ute, Wampanoag, Wasco, Washo, Wichita, Winnebago or Ho-Chunk, Wintun, Yamasee, Yankton Dakota (Sioux), Yokuts, Yuchi, Yuki, Yuma, Yurok, Zia, Zuni, as well as pan-Indian and regionally identified collections.
Particularly significant are: MPM’s Northwest Coast collections, especially from the Kwakiutl the James Howard collection of pow-wow outfits A.B. Skinner’s collections among the Ioway, Otoe, Sauk, Mascouten, and Kickapoo and S.A. Barrett’s early twentieth century collections of food materials (including both plant and animal products) from among the Hopi and various Northwest Coast groups. The Museum’s collection of Woodlands basketry and textiles is exceptional. Individual highlights of the collection include the Red Hawk Ledger Book, an unusual Kwakiutl thunderbird mask and suit set, an exceptional Kwakiutl skin/pukwis mask, and Iowa clan pipes.
Latin American Ethnology
Central and Mesoamerican materials represent about 7% of ethnology holdings, and include important collections from the Caribbean, Mexico, and Guatemala. MPM’s carnival mask, Guatemalan Maya, Tarahumara (mainly the Zingg-Bennett collection), and the LaTorre Mexican Kickapoo collections are particularly noteworthy. South American collections represent nearly 5% of ethnology holdings, and focus on rainforest and Andean cultures, with special strengths in featherwork and items of personal adornment.
More than 15% of the ethnology holdings are from Africa, mainly sub-Saharan portions of the continent. The masking traditions of West Africa are well-represented, as are items of adornment from East Africa, and items relating to religion and magic from Central Africa. Ironwork and edged weapons are also particularly well-represented. Strengths of the collections include the Cudahy-Massee collections, the Antisdel and related collections from Angola and the Congos, the Ritzenthaler collections from the Cameroons, and the Museum’s rare and well-documented collection of Mambila material.
Pacific and Oceanic Ethnology
Pacific and Oceania material represents about 11% of the ethnology holdings, with strong collections of Polynesian tapa cloth, Australian bark paintings (especially the Waterman-Laskin collection), and a variety of materials from the Phillippines, most dating to the time of the 1903 World’s Fair. In addition to strong general collections from Oceania, the Morton May Sepik River collection and the Meinecke New Ireland collection are particularly noteworthy.
Old Word Ethnology
Ethnology also houses an important collection of Saami (Lapp) material (ca. 2.3% of total ethnology holdings). Remaining Old World material is generally catalogued through the History department.
Archives, Photographs and Miscellaneous Collections
Archival material includes original field and collection notes by curatorial staff, particularly Samuel Barrett, W.C. McKern, Lee Parsons, Stephen Borheygi, and Robert Ritzenthaler. Photographic collections relating to Wisconsin Indians are indexed in Milwaukee Public Museum Contributions in Anthropology and History No. 5, and to non-Wisconsin native peoples in Milwaukee Public Museum Contributions in Anthropology and History No. 6. Both collections comprise the Milwaukee Public Museum American Indian Photograph Collection, with duplicate prints maintained by the Anthropology department, although a smaller collection of prints of Native Americans, representing photographs not made by the Milwaukee Public Museum, are separately maintained within the department.
Ancillary materials also include a duplicate copy of the Wisconsin state archaeological site files (complete through the late 1980s), approximately 5,000 catalogued slides, approximately 42 linear feet of American Indian Resource files, five linear feet of phonograph records, and some 300 anthropological films, videos, and audio tapes. In addition, the department maintains case files listing all objects on exhibit, with photographs and schematic drawings showing the location, catalogue, and accession numbers of all items from Anthropology holdings on public display.
The department also created and sponsors the Wisconsin Indian Resource Project, a grant-supported, web-based compendium of materials on native populations, history, and culture. Accession-related correspondence and supporting documentation is housed within the department, as are full catalogues and collector files. NAGPRA documentation, inventories, consultation records, etc., are housed in the Anthropology department.
Native American Resource File (NARF)
The Milwaukee Public Museum’s Anthropology department houses the Native American Resource File (NARF), a collection of paper items dedicated to North American Indians. Established in the 1970s by Dr. Nancy Oestreich Lurie, anthropologist and curator emerita of the Museum, this resource consists of an assortment of general and specific information about American Indians. NARF includes material on native tribes and related subjects, national Indian organizations and associations, and American Indian produced newspapers. Newspaper and magazine clippings, newsletters, student papers, booklets, packets, and other material also comprise the collection, which dates back to the late 1960s.
The Native American Resource File is organized into four main categories: tribes, subjects, organizations/associations, and periodicals. Five 4-drawer filing cabinets contain files on general information on American Indians in specific U.S. states, about 30 subject files, and more than 150 tribes. Each tribe has a separate file containing information about specific topics, while subject files relate to themes, such as mascots, health, and education, focusing on American Indians as a whole. Over 50 archival boxes hold nearly 40 different newspapers produced by tribes in the United States and Canada.
For a complete finding aid, please see refer to our NARF spreadsheet.
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Child (6 & Under): Free
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“This is one of the best Native American museums I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. If you love museums and learning this is a must see!” - reviewer on Google
National Museum of the American Indian’s Native Cinema Showcase 2016 Opens in New Mexico
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will present the 16th annual Native Cinema Showcase, the museum’s premier film event, during the week of Aug. 16–21 in Santa Fe, N.M. The showcase runs in conjunction with the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) Santa Fe Indian Market, the largest juried show of Native fine art in the world. Held at the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, the showcase will screen more than 40 feature-length and short films, including the winners of SWAIA’s moving-image category, Classification X. A special outdoor screening will take place Saturday, Aug. 20, at the Santa Fe Railyard. Admission to all events is free.
The museum will also host a “State of the Art” symposium Friday, Aug. 19, at 3 p.m. at the New Mexico History Museum. Many art museums across the United States are reconsidering their collections of American Indian art given new developments in Native American studies and art history. Moderated by David W. Penney, associate director for scholarship of the National Museum of the American Indian, the symposium features an accomplished panel of art museum directors who will discuss how their organizations are helping audiences see American Indian art in new ways.
“Throughout the past few decades, Native film has seen exponential, noteworthy growth,” said Kevin Gover, director of the National Museum of the American Indian. “Since 2001, the showcase has presented nearly a thousand films—an impressive number but still only a small fraction of the works being produced. The films we choose to screen are not only among the best, but culturally significant and representative of many diverse viewpoints.”
Tuesday, Aug. 16
Discussion with director Mat Hames and actor Jordan Dresser (Northern Arapaho/Eastern Shoshone) follows the screening.
Wednesday, Aug. 17
3 p.m.: Future Voices (90 min.)
Program examines the Future Voices of New Mexico project. Discussion follows with Marcella Ernest (Bad River Band of Ojibwe), project director.
Discussion follows with actress Eve Ringuette (Innu). Shown in French with English subtitles.
Thursday, Aug. 18
1 p.m.: Future Focused (81 min. total)
This short films program centers on youth empowerment.
Discussion follows with film subject Caleb Behn (Eh-Cho Dene/Dunne-Za/Cree).
Discussion follows with director Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Creek) and actor Rod Rondeaux (Crow/Cheyenne).
Friday, Aug. 19
11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.: SWAIA Classification X Winning Films
Q&A sessions, moderated by Jhane Myers (Comanche/Blackfeet), will be held with attending winners of Narrative Short, Documentary Short, Animation Short, Experimental Short, Feature and Youth Division categories.
3 p.m.: “State of the Art” Symposium
Saturday, Aug. 20
1 p.m.: Twisted Laughs (79 min. total)
Twelve comedic short films are shown as series contains adult humor.
Screened outdoors at the Santa Fe Railyard Park Screen.
Sunday, Aug. 21
Discussion follows with director Adam Garnet Jones (Cree/Métis/Danish).
All screenings are subject to change. For the most up-to-date schedule information and the full slate of films and their descriptions, consult the museum’s Native Cinema Showcase webpage.
About the National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere—past, present and future—through partnership with Native people and others. For additional information, including hours and directions, visit AmericanIndian.si.edu. Follow the museum via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Join the conversation using #NativeCinemaShowcase and #NCS2016.
About the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts
SWAIA’s mission is to bring Native arts to the world by inspiring artistic excellence, fostering education and creating meaningful partnerships. The 95th annual Santa Fe Indian Market will display the work of more than 1,100 artists from 100 tribes in more than 1,000 booths over a two-day period.