The museum's ethnographic collections span the globe. Assembled from private gifts and gathered through foreign service, teaching, and touring, they consist of hand-crafted items including textiles, musical instruments, weapons, and other objects illustrating traditional technologies and everyday life.
Western North America is a major focus of these collections, including extensive assemblages of Southwestern pottery and weavings, Plains and Plateau beadwork, modern Native American art, and about 1800 Native American baskets from the Far West. The baskets are a focus of MNCH’s ongoing digitization and documentation efforts and regularly draw Tribal members to the museum for study.


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