Ethnographic Collections

Ethnographic Collections
"Ethnographic items date to the near (post-European contact) past. These objects were collected, purchased, bartered from or gifted by indigenous owners to others and passed down through the latter's families (indigenous and non-indigenous) as heirlooms." (Lucianne Lavin, PhD., IAIS Director of Research & Collections)

The ethnographic collection of the Institute for American Indian Studies contains over 6,000 cultural items. While focusing on the Eastern Woodlands Peoples, the collection represents indigenous communities throughout the western hemisphere. Items vary in raw material composition (textiles, wood, stone, clay, glass, shell and semi-precious jewels), function and style from moccasins, rugs, baskets and leggings to containers, weaponry, personal accessories, recreational objects and fine art.

These objects represent the diverse histories and the continued presence of Native American societies, many of whom still dwell in the ancient homelands of their ancestors. Showcased here is a sampling separated by geographic area as well as object type. Click on a region or functional category to view highlights from your area of interest.