The Museum is focusing on American Indian culture this spring with a pair of featured exhibits and associated programs. Understanding Our Past, Shaping Our Future, an exhibition about Cherokee language and culture, will be on exhibit through May 29, 2015, and At Home on the Plains, a mini-exhibit on Plains Indian culture, will be on display through August 29, 2015.
Understanding Our Past, Shaping Our Future is a traveling exhibition developed by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in partnership with Cherokee Central Schools, Southwestern Community College, and Western Carolina University, with funding provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. A community team held monthly discussions with native Cherokee speakers to develop the ideas and images that make up the exhibit. Major themes include Cherokee Homeland, Heritage Sites, Tourism, Family, and Community Celebrations. Exhibit visitors can access the Cherokee language conversations via smart phone QR codes to hear the sound and cadence of the spoken language while looking at the text in both English and Cherokee. A selection of contemporary Cherokee objects from the MOA’s collection are also on display. The exhibit’s appearance at the Museum of Anthropology is cosponsored by the Wake Forest University Linguistics Program, Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Department of Religion.
The MOA is presenting At Home on the Plains as part of a collaboration with Reynolda House Museum of American Art during their exhibition of George Catlin’s American Buffalo. At Home on the Plains showcases the Plains Indians objects in the MOA’s permanent collection. Highlights include beaded moccasins from the Cree and Lakota Sioux tribes as well as two rare Comanche painted hide robes, on display together for the first time. The artifacts in the exhibit present an exclusive look at the material culture of Plains tribes during the Historic Period. As an additional part of this collaboration, the MOA also has a small exhibit of photographs that emphasize the modern day lives of the various tribes painted by George Catlin in the 1830s. For each tribe represented in George Catlin’s American Buffalo, the MOA features a representative image of a Catlin work, a historical photograph, and a modern day photograph, along with a current description of the tribe. The MOA staff will also host Plains Indians craft activities and present hands-on Native American artifacts at the Community Day: Pow Wow Cultural Festival presented by Reynolda House and Guilford Native American Association on Reynolda’s front lawn on Saturday, April 11.