American Indian Basketry

A "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" exhibit of cultural objects from the Museum’s Anthropology Collection.

Ended January 20, 2019

A catalog for this past exhibition is available in PDF form.

As part of the ongoing series “Behind the Scenes at the Museum,” featuring cultural objects from the Museum’s Anthropology Collection that are not ordinarily on public display, Curator of Ethnography Dr. Jan Timbrook has curated a beautiful and informative exhibit of nearly two hundred historic and contemporary Native American baskets, many of them never shown before.

While we feature baskets from throughout western North America, in this exhibition they are arranged by cultural function rather than geographical region or tribal origin. The goal is to show that Native weavers from many different cultural groups have been employing a dazzling variety of materials, techniques, and design for thousands of years to make baskets that meet the same essential human needs - from getting and cooking food, to storing valuables and carrying babies, to social life and artistic expression.

A second goal is to show that American Indian basketry is not just something from the past. It is a living art, and these traditions are being carried on by Native people today. Look for the photos of these weavers, and the baskets they made, when you come to visit this special exhibit. Detailed information about each individual basket can be found on laminated sheets placed in bins next to the cases.