New exhibition opens March 1, 2014
Ruth and Earl Scott Gallery, 2nd floor
Today’s Native American leaders are speaking. Come and listen.
Leave preconceptions behind and discover a living tapestry of Nations with distinct stories, histories, and identities. In Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now, a new long-term interactive exhibition opening at the Penn Museum in 2014, visitors will learn about contemporary issues in Native America. Set against the backdrop of more than 250 objects from the Museum’s expansive collections from the United States and Canada, the exhibition challenges stereotypes and tells powerful stories of Native American successes in achieving independence as sovereign, self-governing Nations. At multimedia stations, visitors will experience audio and video clips of contemporary Native Americans speaking of the many ways in which they maintain their religious, political, linguistic, and artistic independence.
Material highlights include Lenape objects from the Delaware Valley region, war bonnets and regalia, intricately woven baskets, contemporary Native American art, and famous stone tools from Clovis, New Mexico, that, at 9,000 to 11,000 years old, are among the oldest objects in the Museum’s collection. Over the course of five years, nearly 300 objects representing 85 tribes will be rotated for display. Visitors will be able to investigate and sort these objects according to personal interests at interactive digital stations, fashioning their own unique experiences while gaining insight into the materials on display.
Remarkable objects and contemporary voices combine to offer visitors a new understanding of the first inhabitants of this land, as told through Native American perspectives.
Image captions (top to bottom): Exhibition logo; Woman's Moccasins, ca. 1890. Culture: Inuna-ina (Arapaho). Location: North America, Great Plains. Though Native people across North America wore moccasins, the beautiful beadwork design of these is distinct to the Plains region (image courtesy of Penn Museum Archives #240765); John Echohawk (left) is a Pawnee lawyer and founder of the Native American Rights Fund, which works to defend the rights of Native peoples nationwide. Suzan Harjo (right), Cheyenne and Hudolgee Muscogee, is President of The Morning Star Institute, a Native American rights organization. They share perspectives on their work in Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now (image courtesy of Lucy Fowler-Williams).