Finding Native American Culture in the United States

As buyers of Native American jewelry, it is best to have some knowledge of what kind of pieces you are representing. Whether it’s understanding symbols, like the Thunderbird or feathers.

There are many ways to conserve their culture through powwows, oral tradition, artifacts and the greatest one, museums. Here are some of the best museums to indulge in Native American culture.

Top Native American Museums

East Coast

1. George Gustav Heye Center  (New York)

As a part of the National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Here Center highlights collections that will astonish anyone. Also, it includes 10 headdresses from various Native tribes and the oldest known duck decoys from Lovelock Cave, Nevada.

2. National Museum of the American Indian (D.C.)

The National Museum of the American Indian portrays cultures from North, Central and South America. Therefore, you will be learning more than just those in the United States with a total of more than 800,000 items.

3. Queens County Farm Museum

A small farm on the outskirts of the busy city, you can learn about the Native American culture. Additionally, the farm is known for hosting the Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Powwow, which is the largest and oldest.

West Coast

1. Denver Art Museum (Denver, Colorado)

The Denver Art Museum is one of the largest American Indian art collections in the world. It was the first United States art museum to start gathering Native American work from different tribes and groups from various regions.

It has permanent collections that show ancient ceramics to Arapaho beaded garments.

2. Millicent Rogers Museum (Taos, New Mexico)

The Millicent Rogers Museum focuses on collections of Southwest Native American and Hispanic artwork.  It carries an important collection of Native American art, jewelry, like the Zuni “Tab Necklace”, and pottery.

Located in Taos, New Mexico, the area is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark.

3. Heard Museum (Phoenix, Arizona)

The Heard Museum opened in 1929 as a small museum but with its international recognition, it has grown throughout the years. It consists of 11 galleries of traditional and contemporary Native American artwork and changes its exhibits six to eight times per year.

Also, the museum is one of Phoenix’s earliest and best cultural attraction to learn about Native American culture.


Source: “Looking for Native American culture in the U.S.? Here’s where to go” by Dana Joseph