Photo: courtesy of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center

An amazing diversity of objects, images, and documents are held within the collections of tribal museums and cultural centers. Collections include stone tools that are thousands of years old, documents from colonial times, photographs from the late 1800’s to the present, digital images and traditional arts from this decade. Each type of object, image or document holds its own unique concerns relative to proper care. The museum field continually strives to meet the needs of collections care and management across a wide base. Native communities have been consistently improving the care and management of the tribal facilities that care for collections. This includes improvement to facilities, policies, and the continuing education of staff. Additional issues in tribal museums that usually do not affect non-native facilities include special handling due to the ceremonial nature of some objects. Some tribal objects are made to be handled by a specific group, i.e. by only one gender. Repatriated objects that have been returned from other institutions often require special handling due to chemical treatments that were given in the past, i.e. masks that were treated with arsenic as a pesticide.


Photos: courtesy of the Akwesasne Museum
The Akwesasne Museum collection includes splint and sweetgrass basketry, beadwork, photographs and many other media.

Photo: courtesy of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center

The "Tribal Heritage Project" which began in 2003, is committed to capturing for posterity the faces and voices of our elders.  Their recollections are precious and, through the process of digitization, will be archived and shared with the generations to come.  The THP is currently in the process of developing Family Histories on each of the Founding Families.  The Family History Series DVDs consist of the Ancestral Family, The Founding Family, the 20th Century Family, a Veteran of that family, and a Photo Album segment displaying photos found within the family’s archival folder.