Unless otherwise noted, we have visited all of the museums listed here (in some cases, many times!). They are great resources for increasing your knowledge of Native American culture and history. As we love to travel, we can't help but share our experiences with you. We do hope you will consider visiting these marvelous facilities.
Buffalo Bill Historical Center - The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming is by far one of the premier museums featuring Plains Indian art from the Reservation Period. They have an incredible collection of almost every type of artifact imaginable including tipis, moccasins, pipe bags, dresses, shirts, shields, and much, much, more. Every fall they sponsor a symposium which covers a different topic each year. It attracts researchers and others with an interest in Native American culture from all over the world. The center actually has four museums, the Plains Indian Museum, Cody Firearms Museum, Buffalo Bill Museum, and Whitney Gallery of Western Art. When visiting, plan to spend at least a day in the museum itself. Cody is the northeast gateway to Yellowstone National Park so there is a lot to do in the area. Be sure to visit the Irma Hotel which was originally owned by Buffalo Bill Cody. A portion of the hotel has restored historic rooms which look much like they did in the early 1900's. The amenities in these rooms are a little sparse but it can be great fun. This is one of our favorite vacation destinations if you haven't noticed!
David T. Vernon Collection - Housed in the Grand Teton National Park visitor center in Colter Bay, Wyoming, this is an excellent collection of Plains Indian artifacts. A definite stop if you're in the Yellowstone area. Check for hours first...the museum is only open from late spring through early fall. Many parts of the collection are well illustrated in the book The Spirit of Native America
Southwest Museum - Located in Los Angeles, California, the Southwest Museum houses a fine collection of Plains, Southwest, and California Indian material. A definite stop if you're in the area.
The Denver Art Museum - Another premier museum with an outstanding collection of Native American art from all regions of the country. Several years ago, they completely renovated their Native American section. It is now presented in a very open and interpretive manner. Unfortunately, they only showcase a small portion of their vast holdings. Plan to spend several hours if you only want to visit the Native American portion. They also house incredible collections from many other cultures and you can easily spend the whole date there.
Colorado State Historical Society - Located in Denver, Colorado, this museum is often overlooked but should be on your "must visit" list. It houses a moderately small Native American collection but has some very important holdings. They have some early pony-beaded leggings, several pipe bags, and much more. They also display some of the original ledger drawings featured in the excellent Lakota books by James R. Walker. As expected, they also have extensive exhibits of Colorado history. Within walking distance of the Denver Art Museum.
Denver Museum of Natural History - While you probably would not expect to find a Native American exhibit in a natural history museum, this place will blow you away. An incredible exhibit of Plains artifacts. Since it is a "natural history" museum, it is, of course, presented as dioramas on mannequins but the items displayed are great. Definitely plan to spend the better part of the day. By the way, the rest of the museum is incredible too. Bring the kids...they'll love it!
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art - Located in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Eiteljorg features a good collection of historical and contemporary Native American art. The building itself is a work of art. The collection is not as great as in some of the other museums we've listed, but it is definitely a stop if you are in the area.
The High Desert Museum - If you are anywhere near Bend, Oregon, plan to spend a full day at this fabulous museum. They have an excellent collection of Plateau artifacts but it is not all on display. If our memory is correct, they are still raising money to build a permanent exhibit. The museum has animal exhibits including birds of prey, otters, and porcupines; history exhibits, including a restored sawmill, and high desert homestead; and much, much more. A great place for the kids and adults too!
Located near Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada, this museum if pretty much in the middle of nowhere. However, it is definitely worth the trip. The museum is built on a buffalo jump site. These sites were typically located on the plains where the prairie just stops and a gorge dozens or hundreds of feet below appears. The men would stampede the buffalo over the cliff where most would die instantly. Those that survived were quickly killed by the women and children waiting below. The buffalo would then be skinned and the meat prepared for the long winter ahead. This interpretive site explains the jump site and presents a wealth if information on the Blackfoot Indians. (we borrowed this cool graphic from their site - we hope they don't mind too much - click it to visit them)
The Heard Museum - The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, is home to an outstanding collection of Southwest Indian art.
National Museum of the American Indian - This is the newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum is scheduled to be open by the end of the decade on the mall in Washington, D.C. It will house the incredible Heye collection. This collection was located in New York for many years. There is a satellite museum already open in New York. We never visited the Heye collection when it was in New York but have seen photos from friends who have. The collection is absolutely incredible and may very well be the best in the world. We'll be traveling to Washington D.C. to see this museum the first summer it is open.
San Diego Museum of Man - This museum has a great collection of Plains and Southwest art including many textiles. Most of the collection is not on regular display so you should check the schedule of events for current exhibits. They also have a great Egyptian collection as well as an excellent exhibit on the evolution of man (well, at least it presents the current prevailing theories).
Koshare Indian Museum - We have never been here so have no experiences to share. The Koshare Indian Dancers are well known in the Boy Scout circles and their site is worth a visit
Seattle Art Museum - Located in downtown Seattle, Washington, this museum houses an outstanding collection of Northwest Coast art. They also have an outstanding collection of African art as well as revolving exhibits. A worthwhile stop. By the way, when in Seattle, don't miss the downtown marketplace...it's great fun!
The Glenbow Museum - A great museum located in Calgary, Canada which houses a wonderful collection of First Nations (the Canadian version of "Native Americans") artifacts. The Glenbow has a wonderful web site too. After you visit the museum, travel south (OK, way south) and you can visit Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Interpretive Centre in Fort Macleod. If you continue south into Montana, you can drive down to Browning on the Blackfoot Reservation and check out the Plains Indian Museum. They have a great selection of Blackfoot artifacts. And if you're in Browning, you have to continue west into Glacier National Park. We think this is the most beautiful National Park in the country! Make sure you take the Going-To-The-Sun road or you'll miss the best part.
Canadian Museum of Civilization - The Canadian Museum of Civilization (CMC) is located in Hull, Quebec, on the banks of the Ottawa River, directly opposite Parliament Hill. It is home to a selection of Northwest Coast and Inuit art.
Museum of the Yellowstone - Located in the old train station in West Yellowstone, Montana, this small museum holds a nice collection of Plains Indian artifacts. It's well worth the stop if you are in the area and they also have a nice wildlife exhibit featuring animals of the Yellowstone region.
The following gallery references are provided for your use when traveling around the country. With the exception of Morning Star Gallery, we have no connection with any of them and are not endorsing them in any way. Our only connection with Morning Star Gallery is that we carry most of the books and catalogs they publish. We have visited all of these galleries and feel they are worth your time because of the quality of material presented.
Quite possibly the premier gallery for antique tribal art of the Plains and Southwest. We can't afford the prices but we sure like to browse! They print an annual catalog featuring a selection of items which often rivals museums. We carry all their catalogs - volumes 1 though 5 are available for $27 each. Click on the graphic to visit their site. 513 Canyon Rd, Santa Fe NM 87501 (505)982-8187
W.E. Channing & Co - Specializes in antique tribal arts. 53 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe NM 87501 (505)998-1078
Sherwood's Spirit of America - Specializes in antique tribal arts with an
emphasis on Plains Indian artifacts. 1005 Paseo de Peralta
The Spanish & Indian Trading Company - Specializes in antique tribal arts with an emphasis on Plains Indian artifacts. 924 Paseo de Peralta Ste 1, Santa Fe NM 87501 (505)983-6106
Freya's Collectibles - Specializes in antique Plains Indian artifacts. They always have a nice selection of items to see...and Banff is incredibly beautiful too. 114 Banff Ave, Banff, Alberta CANADA T0L 0C0 (403)762-4714
Objects of Bright Pride Galleries - Specializes in contemporary Northwest Coast art. We have only visited their Seattle gallery but they had the best art of any gallery we found in Seattle. They also have galleries in New York City and Juneau, Alaska.
Southern Native American Pow Wows - A great site with lots of information about Southern-style pow wows.
Ben Marra - Author of Powwow, Images along the Red Road and an excellent photographer of Native Americans. His art graces several calendars.
Whispering Wind Magazine - A great hobbyist magazine which features powwow reports, craft articles, history, and much more.
Indian Country Today - An excellent Native American newspaper with widespread circulation across the country. If you want to stay current with Indian issues from an Indian perspective, then definitely subscribe (we do).
Hair Pipes in Plains Indian Adornment - An excellent book by John C. Ewers which has long been out of print. The Smithsonian Institution has put the whole book on line for your use. We learned a lot about the history of hairpipe and you will too.
NAGPRA - Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. This act became law in 1990. Its primary purpose was to allow Native American tribes to reclaim human remains stored in public museums. However, there are clauses which allow Native Americans to reclaim objects of cultural patrimony. This section of the law has the potential for abuse and could cause widespread losses to museum collections. There is also some fear that the act may eventually allow intrusion into private collections. NAGPRA will be a very politically sensitive issue for many years.We won't take sides here but if you have an interest in museum collections or are a collector of Native American antiques, you should be familiar with this act.
Kevin Locke (Tokeya Inajin) - Kevin Locke is a well known Native American flute player and has made many recordings (we carry all of them). He generally plays the flute in a traditional manner using sounds of nature as a background. One of our most popular artists.
We distribute music for the following Native American music publishers. Their sites often offer more background about an artist or particular recording. While some of these sites sell music directly, we would appreciate it if you would make your purchase with us so we can continue to support our site and business. Thank you!
American Indian College Fund - An outstanding organization which supports the tribal colleges around the country. We don't donate as much money as we would like to them but we try to offer some support every year. We would encourage you to check them out and consider supporting them. The American Indian College fund offers a very special selection of custom Pendleton blankets which they use for fund raising.
NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art - NativeTech is an educational web site that covers topics of Native American technology and emphasizes the Eastern Woodlands region. The web site is organized into categories of Beadwork, Birds & Feathers, Clay & Pottery, Leather & Clothes, Metalwork, Plants & Trees, Porcupine Quills, Stonework & Tools, and Weaving & Cordage. A great site with lots of information.