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The National Museum of the American Indian: Outline

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 3 months ago


The National Museum of the American Indian

 by Mee, Guenet, Jinedi, and Jaime
















The National Museum of the American Indian

Finding Ourselves


                      We thought that all museums in Washington D.C. were mostly rectangular and cubic shaped until we visited The National Museum of the American Indian which was unique and spectacular. Visiting the museum was a process of discovery where we found ourselves, our culture and our identity through the exhibitions. 

The museum is located between Air and Space Museum and U.S Capitol building in Washington, D.C. as you can notice in one of our pictures.

Finding your past is a way to discover your identity. The museum invites us to explore ourselves. Learning about the culture and lifestyle of the Indian connected us spiritualy. Not only emphasize the Northern Native American, but also portrays the life styles of the native American from Alaska, Central America, the Caribean islands and South America. The spiritual beliefs, their survival techniques and the talent of their artistic nature made a big impression on us. The museum give you the opportunity to experience the past within the present and make some changes in your life.



                        First of all, the beauty of the museum and the architecture design invited us to learn more about the native. From inside out, the museum is a gorgeous combination of unique, colossal building, a magnificent landscape with a lake, cascades, river, gardens and stone plaza ( See picture of south and front facade of the buliding) Tell us where! Also, the sensational wide interior and exterior spaces with the purpose to express the sacred connection between natives and their land. At first sight, the beauty of the building struck us and at the same time invited us to come in. Jaime, one of the group members who posed with his indian shirt in the picture above Your photos need captions!, said: " When I looked at the building I was immediatly transported to my ancestors. I was looking at the mountain countours instead of the wavey shape of the building. I saw the color of our motherland's ground on the museum's wall. The rough and rocky surface of the building was the indians' house facade. I was coming back to my ancestors' home....my home". (See the last picture above of Khapo tribe's building in New Mexico and observe the similarities with the museum).


                        At the entrance there is a Museum's Lobby, this area really impressed us. (See first picture of Mee, one of group member, at the lobby, and some indian's canoes Your photos need captions!). It is a wide open area in a circular shape. The materials in this area are: stone, marble, bronce and metal. There is boat covered with seal skin used in the artic at the center of the lobby. The place has some benches around for sitting inorder to observe in a relaxed form. The National Museum of the American Indian had a marvelous display that  impacted us. One of our group member was impressed by the native's clothing. She liked the textures and imprints of the clothing which were basic yet beautiful costumes of our ancestors. For her, it was some kind of connection not only with the aesthetic manner but in an emotional aspect as well, she explained that the clothing made her feel very comfortable and "cozy" (see the picture of black and red Kiowa tribe's woman dress shown below)Your photos need captions!. For example, we saw an Arapaho Tribe's red dress adorned with elk's tooth (long deer with flat antlers) that symbolized love and prosperity. This is an special present before wedding ceremony take place where the groome give to any female member of his bride's family. Thus, the dresses stood as a motive of pride and identity among the members of the tribe.


                       Furthermore, another display of the museum that amused us was their usage of clever techniques. For example, the Mayan techniques of making clothes, called "loom". The Mayan wooden weaver used in Central America untill this day. ( Pictures in the collage below shown the mayan wooden weaver and Jaime is using a mayan shirt made with it in a picture above).We found out about our natives' everyday activites such as the task that is commonly known as "putting the food on the table". One of our group members was impressed with the way in which the Native Americans fished and hunt. Their methods were very clever at that time, a reason that filled them with pride. For example, when fishing and hunting, the persecution of the prey was critical; especially in severe weather areas (like the Central Artic). The Iglomik tribe built a boat covered by seal skin, which is a natural waterproof membrene, camouflaged, and made with an incredible speed in order to hunt the caribou, a north american deer. Their waterproof clothes, boots and gloves were made out of a layer of seal skin and caribou, and everyone says that those are better than the ones they sell in the market. (see the boat and boots on collage's picture below). 


                         The museum was visited by people from all over the world. Families with young children, group of truists with camera taking pictures. Every one seems happy, and you meet people you dont know asking you if you could take their picture by the museum. Lots of smiling faces. It adds warmth to the athmospher .The National Museum of the American Indian had a wide variety of visitors. We noticed the various types of people that visited the museum. There were a lot of senior visitors, who seemed to be of native descent, and there were also many young visitors, which were either large groups of high school students visiting the museum on a field trip or doing research for a project. There were also a lot of tourists who seemed to enjoy the displays the museum has to offer. Finally we saw many hispanic visitors who joined the museum visitors and what it offers to the public. Something that also filled us with warmth were the guidance stuff came from an Native American heritage. The visitors divided themselves in three groups: the Planetarioum Plaza at the entrance of the museum, the Potomac Plaza at the lobby of the museum, and inside of the native American theater to enjoy a movie. Also, something that grabbed our attention were the large amount of people by the stairs surrouning the Potomac Plaza watching the shows displayed on it. 



                         The National Museum of the American Indian is something more than just a regular museum because the magnificent architecture, the spacious dimentions, and the warmth of the exhibitions invites every visitor to reflect about what makes each of them the person they are today. How the past interfeers and influences every aspect of our present, and how that same past determines our future. The physical appareance and the museum's open spaces makes the visitors feel like they are home, filling them with a sense of freedom and comfort. With such openness in the air it is easy to observe every now and then an spontaneus and simple expression of joy like the father playing with his little kid in the middle of the lobby. (see picture below). The museum is a rigth place in which we can witness the passage of time and all the changes our ancestors went through, and at the end ask ourselves: Are we happy with the way we are? Are our life fill of pride, self respect and values like they used to be?.












Comments (11)

Anonymous said

at 9:53 pm on Oct 10, 2007

I liked the essay. I wanted to share my work, but I couldn't figuer out how. Dr. Meloni commented on adding to the conclusion. I added and post it, I dont know if you read it or not.

Anonymous said

at 2:44 pm on Oct 12, 2007

I really learned a lot of new facts about the American Indian museum! That was very interesting to read about the exhibits you were impressed with, your personal feelings.

Anonymous said

at 4:02 pm on Oct 12, 2007

very good essay, but the social description was too succint. It is a well structured essay. I didn't know that there was native AMericans in Caribe islands!interesting.!ALso, excellent conclusion guys!

Anonymous said

at 10:51 pm on Oct 12, 2007

I like your essay but I think it can be edited a little bit:
- you could think more about the word order and sentence structure in order to make text clear.
- try to avoid words and sentences that are not relevent, important.
- some of the sentences are too long that's why it's hard to follow the idea.
- it is better to choose what tense are you writing in instead of mixing grammar tenses.
- you could also give more details for Social Description (how many people, family members or friends; how were they dressed).

Anonymous said

at 11:34 pm on Oct 12, 2007

As comment about our essay I like to add something that kept my atention when I visited the American Indian Museum. This is part of my conclusion: the museum's enviroment can affect the visitors. It was a surprise for me the presence of some latino o hispanic visitor with humble roots. I observed carefully the physical or ethnic caracteristics as skin color, hair, heigth, etc. Also, the way and accent when they speaked and, the clothes and customs as well. They were american indians as me but as I noticed they were coming from poor, remotes and rural areas. People from those areas generally have a poor level of education. Generally they are not interested to visit museums because the education or cultural issues are not their priorities. I visited twice the Museum to confirm my observations with same results. I know my people very well because I work with them every day. I asked to myself: "Why did they visit the Museum if that is not part of their customs? Why did they look interested on the exhibits when usually they don't? What was the inicial atraction for them?"
I think the enviroment had influence in the visitor's behavior described above. First at all, the impresive and familiar facade invite us to come in. And finally, the museum's exhibits were as mirrows for us. We were looking ourself. It is common for each and every one of us to look at the mirrow for a long period of time.

Anonymous said

at 4:52 pm on Oct 29, 2007

I enjoyed reading your essay because I found very interesting learning about the whole American Indians and not only the Northen Indians. In fact, It would be more interesting if you would add more details about their similarities that tou talked in the introduction. Also the description of the building and the art colection written on the same paragraph are alittle confused.

Anonymous said

at 5:04 pm on Oct 29, 2007

This is a very interesting site as I understand. I liked the description of the exterior of the building, and I noted that a little information had been added to explain the emtional appeal of the clothing. I was disappointed to find that the sophistication of the Indians' fishing and hunting had not been discussed more. I find this information on my own this summer when I come to DC.

Anonymous said

at 10:28 pm on Oct 29, 2007

It is very intersting article basing on my reading.But I feel like social description and conclusion are slight short. It seems like suddenly conclude for em. However, You describe phycial decription really well. I gain a lot of information through your description of museum. It is a very intersting place to visit.

Anonymous said

at 11:33 pm on Oct 30, 2007

Professor Weasenforth:

We really aprecciate your comment about our essay but we have been waiting for your student's comments to prepare our final presentation. Now, we are in the process of discussing the feedback information that you and our colleges in Dallas already sent us. Of course you will read additional information about fishing and hunting in our final draft or in this space as a comment.

Jaime Clará
D.C Group Leader

Anonymous said

at 12:52 am on Nov 6, 2007

Professor Weasenforth your comment is so incouraging, It helps us understand where to improve our writting. You are very kind and thank you very much.

Anonymous said

at 6:12 pm on Nov 11, 2007

I have more comment after visitng the American Indian Museum the second time.

I was impressed by the desigen with detail symbolis. The use teeth to decorate their cloth, and that symbolizes that "you are still part of us never forgotten.
It is very tauching the respect and honer they have for eachother ,and the honer for life and nature.

The story behind beading cloth, it takes a young Indian girl seven years or more to complite, and that means offically she reached women hood.

All the history, talent, and the life style was an education of life time.

I am adding this to our essay, for we have covered all what tauches us most. The group is a great well organized. I have learned a lot and enjoyed the project.

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