A guide to art in NYC, with families in mind.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The National Museum of the American Indian

Comanche horse and rider doll, ca. 1900. Oklahoma.

The National Museum of the American Indian is located at the southern tip of New York. This under-the-radar museum is always free and never jam packed. I would love to see more New Yorkers and tourists take advantage of this great tribute to and resource of Native American culture in our city. Listed below are two exhibitions that are currently up and particularly child friendly. But keep in mind that there are more exhibits and always something amazing to discover at this museum.
A Song for the Horse Nation: Horses in Native American Cultures. This exhibit runs only until July 7th!  It is a look at the relationship of the horse and native peoples through hand crafts, horse gear, clothing, and toys. In the islands of the Caribbean the Taino people were the first to see a horse carrying the Spanish Conquistadors. It was a terrifying site. These horses were also brought to the Americas by the Spaniards and slowly became Indian horses as they strayed from colonial ranches and mated in the wild or were captured in raids. The horses multiplied and became close allies of the  Native Americans Nations.They were called the Horse Nation.
Small Spirits: Dolls from the Collection of the National Museum of the American Indian.  This exhibit features more than 90 dolls from throughout the Western hemisphere representing different communities and traditions of Native peoples. You will see dolls dressed in  Cherokee clothing of the 1930s,  the traditional "no-face" cornhusk dolls of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) cultures,  Seminole dolls in patchwork clothing. and Plains dolls in traditional garments. The Museum is located at The George Gustave Heye Center at One Bowling Green. www.nmai.si.edu
Kay Bennett (Kay C. "Kaibah" Bennett) Dine (Navajo), 1922–1997
Top photo by: Photograph by Ernest Amoroso, NMAI. (22/4820)
Bottom photo by: Photo by R.A. Whiteside, NMAI.