National Museum of the American Indian Blog Posts

In December 2015, I finished my six-month curatorial residency at the Cultural Resources Center of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). During that time I examined the artworks and records of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) Headquarters collection.

Created in 1935, the IACB “promotes the economic development of American Indians and Alaska Natives…through the expansion of the Indian arts and crafts market.” Numbering more than 6,300 artworks from its headquarters office, the collection is an amazing record of artistic movements, regional styles, and experimental projects produced by hundreds of Native artists from the 1930s through the 1990s.

The collection was transferred to the NMAI in 2000 from the U.S Department of the Interior, and it contains a wide range of items, including baskets, ceramics, beadwork, textiles, paintings, sculptures, and mixed media works. Since the IACB’s mission is economic development enterprises for American Indians and Alaska Natives, many pieces were produced for the tourist market.

Research can be isolating, and I wanted to share my findings with others, especially the Native communities who produced the artworks. The NMAI allowed me to write for the museum’s blog and highlighted artworks from the collection. It was a wonderful opportunity to inform others about the stories and artists behind the artworks.

During my residency, I wrote ten blog posts. The links are below.

IACB Headquarters Collection Blog Posts:

  1. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: Introduction and Tohono O’odham Bowl (published 26 August 2015)

  2. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: Mukluks (published 3 September 2015)

  3. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: The Pomo Indian Women’s Club (published 10 September 2015)

  4. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: The Shungnak Jade Project (published 26 September 2015)

  5. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: Catawba Pottery (published 14 October 2015)

  6. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: Stockbridge–Munsee Arts and Crafts Enterprise (published 23 October 2015)

  7. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: For Halloween, a Spooktacular Navajo Rug (published 29 October 2015)

  8. The Indian Arts & Crafts Board: Otellie Loloma (published 10 November 2015)

  9. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: Native-Designed Fabrics (published 30 November 2015)

  10. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board: The Seeganna Family (published 17 December 2015)

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