Exhibits

A scene from the Quinnetukut: Our Homeland, Our Story exhibit.

At the Institute for American Indian Studies, we take great pride in our exhibits and continually strive to ensure that they are accurate, informative and engaging. Our exhibits cover a broad range of topics, with both indoor display galleries and outdoor experiences. Drawing upon the most current research available and the talents of experienced educators and designers, the exhibits at IAIS are simply unforgettable.

Quinnetukut: Our Homeland, Our Story

Our primary exhibit follows the 10,000 year long story of Connecticut's Native American Peoples from the distant past to their lives and culture today. Presented in chronological order, Quinnetukut takes visitors from a time at the end of the Ice Age, when humans were first venturing into the area that we now call Connecticut all the way into the modern age.

From East To West: Across Our Homelands

Native Peoples' Homelands stretch from coast to coast, across the continent of North America. They are many different peoples, all with a unique cultural identity. Though many changes have occurred since the earliest encounters with European peoples, their communities and cultural traditions have endured. This exhibit celebrates the artistry and enduring individuality of these Native American communities throughout North America.

Sachem's House Classroom

The Sachem's (Chief's) House Classroom is an indoor re-creation of an Algonkian "elongated wigwam", containing both original and replicated artifacts, as well as a detailed mural depicting everyday life in a Northeastern village before the arrival of Europeans on this continent. This exhibit allows visitors to experience the everyday challenges and joys of Native American life.

Digging Into The Past: Archaeology In Connecticut

Did you know that Connecticut contains thousands of archaeological sites spanning 10,000 years? Guided by Archie Ollie Gist, visitors will learn about the impressive archaeological history of the state of Connecticut in this child-friendly exhibit.

Children's Discovery Room

The Children's Discovery Room is an exhibit designed specifically for kids. An interactive space, the Discovery Room provides a fun and stimulating learning experience, showing visitors what life would have been like for them had they been a Native American living in the Woodlands 600 years ago.

Reservation House Room

This exhibit simulates a portion of a small reservation house typical of the homes inhabited by Northeastern Native peoples in the early 1900s. We hope that this exhibit will instill in visitors a more complete understanding of the continuing struggle for survival of indigenous communities living on reservations in the Eastern Woodland region.

Replicated Algonkian Village

The Algonkian peoples - composed of over one hundred distinct groups and communities, sharing a common language family and similar lifeways - have traditionally inhabited much of the eastern United States and Canada. The replicated village at IAIS depicts the features common to an Algonkian village of 350 to 1000 years ago, including a Sachem's House, bark-covered wigwams, a reed-covered wigwam, a Three Sisters garden and a dugout canoe.

Simulated Archaeological Excavation Site

During the 1970s and 1980s the Institute for American Indian Studies was involved with the excavation of many archaeological sites in and near Washington, Connecticut where indigenous peoples once lived and worked. The simulated site includes many cultural features that were uncovered by archeologists during those digs, while informing visitors of the methodology and practice of archaeology in general.

Nature Trails

IAIS has several leisurely nature trails winding through our 15 acre property, all leading to the replicated Algonkian village. Each trail features plant and tree identification signs, revealing traditional Native American uses for parts of the trees.

Healing Plants Garden

For generations, Native Americans of the Eastern Woodlands gathered wild plants; leaves; roots; flowers; and fruits, not only for food, but for medicine as well. Many modern pharmaceuticals are based upon the same ingredients found in herbs and plants that have been used by Native Americans for centuries. Our Healing Plants Garden contains many of the plants traditionally gathered in the wild by Native Northeastern peoples and features descriptions of the different uses thereof.

Visit us today to experience all of our fantastic exhibits!