The New North American Galleries

Originally Published in 1931

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THE staff of the Museum has been largely occupied during the past months in effecting a complete reinstallation of the collections of North American Ethnology. These are disposed on the lower floor of the west wing, establishing a suitable continuity with the collection of South American Ethnology in lower Pepper Hall and Central and South American Archæology in the east wing. It is felt that a fresh and original presentation of this material has been achieved, and one that is a distinct advance in revealing the artistic ability of the various cultures.

The gallery immediately next to the Main Hall is devoted to the Indians of the United States: the tribes of the Eastern Woodlands, the Plains, and the Pueblo dwellers. The choicest examples of the arts and crafts of these peoples have been selected from the Museum’s collections and arranged not only to accent the cultural level attained by them, but the distinctive qualities to be found in their decorative work.

A case displaying a variety of objects from the Northwest Coast
Plate XIII — A Case in the North American Gallery, Showing Objects from the Northwest Coast

The Museum’s unexcelled collection of ethnological material from the Indians of the Northwest Coast is assigned to the succeeding gallery, together with a few selected groups of objects derived from the Indians of California and Oregon. The vigorous art of these peoples responds very successfully, it is felt, to the more modern modes of display.

Leading from this gallery is the room devoted to the Eskimo material. Here is exhibited not only objects illustrating the daily life and arts of the living Eskimo tribes, but also collections excavated by the Museum’s expedition at Point Barrow, belonging to the Thule culture, and of considerable variety and importance.

While the objects now freshly installed in these galleries by no means represent a majority of the pieces of each group that are in the Museum’s possession, it is hoped that as they are at present exhibited, they will awaken a greater interest in the peoples that produced them than former methods of display were able to produce. It is to be remembered that the bulk of the collections not on exhibition is available for inspection and study by competent individuals, upon application to the Curator of the American Section.

Cite This Article

"The New North American Galleries." Museum Bulletin III, no. 1 (November, 1931): 31-34. Accessed July 23, 2024.

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

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