American Museum of Natural History. Hall of Plains Indians.

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Exist Dates

1906 - present

Biographical or Historical Note

abstract
Permanent exhibition. Opened approximately 1906. Located on Floor 1, Section 6 from 1906 to 1963 and Floor 3, Section 4 from 1964 to present. The Hall of Plains Indians at the American Museum of Natural History highlights the life of nineteenth century Hidatsa, Dakota (Sioux), Cheyenne, Arapaho, Crow, and other Native American peoples of the North American Plains (1, 1906, p. 19; 2, 1911, p. 21; 2, 1962, p. 10; 2, 1964, p. 33; 3) and ethnological objects of clothing, pipes, bead and quillwork. Alongside the Hall of Eastern Woodlands Indians, the Hall of Plains Indians moved and was redesigned from approximately 1963 to 1967, reopening in February 1967. Clark Wissler was an early curator and the renovation was overseen by curator Stanley A. Freed and Joseph Guerry of the Exhibition Department (1, 1960/61, p. 25; 1, 1966/67. p. 18).

The Hall of Plains Indians has featured exhibits on the Cree, Dakota (Sioux), Siksika (Blackfoot), Mandan, Pawnee, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Gros Ventre, Arapaho, Hidatsa, Omaha, (Kaw) Kansa, Iowa, and Assiniboine (2, 1911, p. 21-23; 2, 1916, p. 31; 3). The hall features oil paintings by George Catlin, including Osage Chief and Two of his Warriors and A Dog Feast of the Sioux (2, 1913, p. 29; 2, 1916, p. 31). On view were also a Blackfoot (Siksika) Tipi and miniature groups, which included scenes depicting Blackfoot Squaw, Child Traveling with Travois, and A Bull Boat or Coracle of the North Dakota Plains Indians, and a Hidatsa earth lodge (1, 1925, p. 71; 2, 1939, p. 127; 2, 1953, p. 168).

The hall was redesigned as a part of the centennial exhibition expansion program. The hall reopened in February 1967, shortly after the new Hall of Eastern Woodlands Indians (1, 1961/62 p. 5-6; 1, 1966/67 p. 4). It exhibits some of the same models and clothing from the previous version of the hall as well as the Hidatsa earth lodge. Exhibits on bison, traditional homes, military and ceremonial societies, weapons, games, and agricultural tools are featured. The hall also includes a Blackfoot (Siksika) group performing a Thunder Pipe ceremony in a tipi (3; 1, 1992/93, p. 16).

Sources

    (1) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1906-1992/93.
    (2) American Museum of Natural History. General Guide to [the Exhibition Halls of] the American Museum of Natural History. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1911-1964.
    (3) American Museum of Natural History. "Hall of Plains Indians", accessed May 9, 2017, http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/human-origins-and-cultural-halls/hall-of-plains-indians.
    Information for the hall appears in the following Museum publications:
    American Museum of Natural History Annual Reports for years 1906 (page 19); 1914 (page 74); 1915 (page 28); 1917 (page 92); 1924 (page 111); 1925 (page 71); 1936 (page 48); 1960 (page 25, 63); 1961 (page 21, 55); 1962 (page 14, 57); 1963 (page 21); 1964 (page 4); 1965 (page 4); 1966 (page 4, 18); 1967; 1968 (page 10); 1969 (page 43); 1972 (page 30); 1975 (page 31); 1976 (page 31); 1986 (page 65); 1988 (page 43); 1991 (page 14); 1992 (page 16, 17); 1993 (page 22)
    American Museum of Natural History General Guides for years 1911 (page 21-23), 1913 (page 29-30), 1914 (page 29-30), 1916 (page 30-32), 1918 (page 19-20), 1919 (page 20-21), 1920 (page 20-21), 1921 (page 20-21), 1922 (page 20-21), 1923 (page 20-21), 1926 (page 12, 37) 1927 (page 12, 37), 1928 (page 25-27), 1929 (page 25-27), 1930 (page 26-28), 1931 (page 42-45), 1933 (page 45-47), 1934 (page 51-54), 1935 (page 51-54), 1936 (page 51-54); 1939 (page 16, 122); 1943 (page 16, 130); 1945 (page 16, 130); 1947 (page 16, 130); 1949 (page 16, 130); 1953 (Floor plans, page 167); 1956 (page 172); 1958 (page 172); 1962 (page 10, 12, 16); 1964 (page 13, 32-33)
    An Introduction, 1972 (page 6, 7, 143).
    Official Guides 1993 (page 34, 50) 2001 (Table of Contents, page 31, 62)

Terms

place
New YorkExternal link
AMNH: Floor 3, Section 4. Additional location information: On Floor 1, Section 6 from 1915, and moved to its current location in the 1960s. Hall was closed during construction of Biology of Man Hall.

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

Catlin, George 1796-1872
Artist, paintings exhibited in hall (2, 1912, p. 66).
Deming, Edwin Willard 1860-1942
Prepared mural studies for hall (1, 1915, p. 28).
Freed, Stanley A
Curator for hall during 1960s renovation (2, 1960/61, p. 25).
Guerry, Joseph M. 1906-1967
Exhibition Department, led redesign of hall (2, 1960/61, p. 25).
Hall of Eastern Woodlands Indians
Accompanying hall redesigned at the same time by Stanley Freed and Joseph Guerry (1, 1960/61, p. 25; 1, 1966/67, p. 18)
Mills, Ogden 1856-1929
Presented Museum with George Catlin paintings exhibited in hall (2, 1912, p. 66).

Related Resources

subjectOf
Historic Halls of the American Museum of Natural History
Curated digital images of permanent halls in the American Museum of Natural History Library, Digital Special Collections.

Written by: Clare O'Dowd
Last modified: 2018 December 7


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