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About the Mitchell

Mitchell Museum
of the American Indian

3001 Central Street
Evanston, IL 60201


Past Exhibits

Contemporary Native Women Opening Doors to Change

Contemporary Native Women Opening Doors to Change showcases twelve leaders whose contributions make a difference in the lives of countless people. These richly diverse women are renowned for their work on issues ranging from land and environment, tribal sovereignty, culture and language, to economic injustice. This exhibition draws from their eloquent voices, stunning photographs, and selected objects to tell their stories. On Display June 2016 through December 2017


Native Haute Couture

“Native Haute Couture” features examples of late 19th and early 20th century garments and accessories from tribes across the United States and Canada. These pieces reflect the incorporation of many European influenced trade goods and designs in traditional Native dress. Among the items on display are a Cheyenne dress from ca. 1915 made of elk skin with a beaded yolk in a geometric design, a Cheyenne child’s dress from the 1950s that is navy piped with red ribbon, and a signature scarf from “Project Runway” finalist Patricia Michaels (Taos Pueblo)


Miniature Artwork - Enormous Appeal

This exhibit features exquisite examples of miniatures from tribal communities across the United States and Canada. Visitors will marvel at the miniature interpretations of Native American utilitarian and ceremonial objects on display including basketry, silverwork, carving, weaving and pottery from the 1900s to today.


All My Relations: A Seneca History

The exhibit will view traditional and modern Seneca artifacts, which over the span of generations, represent the intimate themes of loss, connection and resilience by Ms. Simas and her Seneca connection. Her voice and family materials reflect a history of loss and renewal known to many tribes today.




Moccasins: Steps Through Time

Although each tribe across the United States and Canada has a different word for "shoe", the word "moccasin" is widely used and understood. Explore the cultural significance of bead and quillwork designs, how the environment affects footwear design and structure, and exceptional examples of children’s moccasins.


Storytelling: Inspiring Traditions for Generations

Across the country, there are hundreds of thousands of stories that make up the oral traditions of North America’s first people. Stories that share, record, entertain, and teach others about this life and culture.  In the exhibit, you can consider contemporary issues facing American Indian cultures, such as language preservation and land ownership.  Learn how American Indians use storytelling traditions as tools to face these concerns. 


 Another View of American Indian Fine Art

Challenge your notions of Native American art in the Mitchell Museum's exhibit Another View of American Indian Fine Art. Organized by geographic regions, this exhibit explores the influences of several key Indian art schools, the first generation of artists to emerge from these schools, and the incorporation of modern techniques, styles, and media by contemporary American Indian artists as they transition from "ethnic art" to fine art.

Changing Views of American Indian Fine Art

Learn about the ways in which American Indian Fine Art has changed over time.  From trading posts to the international contemporary art world, Native artists have contributed much to the American art tradition.  This exhibit challenges perceptions of American Indian art, and features work by Woody Crumbo, Dan Namingha, and other well-known artists. The exhibit also includes many interactive displays, including an art table, discussion boards, and an guessing game that will challenge perceptions on this dynamic topic. 


The War of 1812: A Local American Indian History

The year 2012 marked the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.  Referred to as “America’s Second War of Independence,” the conflict saw allied Native American, British, and Canadian forces battling the United States in a war that lasted two and a half years.  Largely forgotten in America, the War of 1812 played an important role in shaping the country as we know it and in understanding historic and contemporary American Indian and government relations.

Deconstructing Stereotypes: Top Ten Truths

Many of us face stereotypes and misconceptions about our heritage and culture.  But what stereotypes impact the lives of Native peoples the most?  The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian surveyed Native American and Indigenous Canadian peoples to find out. The results identified the top ten stereotypes and misconceptions that Native peoples face today from mascots and casinos to addiction and treaty rights.







Cahokia:  Rediscovering Archaeology

An American Indian metropolis settled between 600 and 1300 CE, Cahokia offers an incredible glimpse into Mississippian culture. Learn about the life and inhabitants of this city that was larger than London before being abandoned in 1300. On display from March 12, 2011- January 2012.


Carved with Care: Zuni Fetishes and Carvings

From as early as 650 C.E., the ancestors of the present day Zuni, the Anasazi, have carved fetishes, objects believed to hold supernatural powers, or a spirit living inside. In modern times, an animal carving must be blessed by a Zuni priest to be considered a fetish. While not all carvings today have the power of fetishes, the term is commonly used to describe a wide variety of stone animals.

Through the Eyes of the Eagle: Illustrating Healthy Living for Children

Sixty-five original watercolor paintings and illustrations from the popular Eagle Book series focus on healthy living and diabetes prevention through traditional American Indian foods and physical activity. February 12 - May 22, 2011.


Keepsake: Porcupine Quillwork

See extraordinary keepsake objects made by Woodlands and Plains Native artists and learn how quillwork was made from porcupines. Closed February 20, 2011.  


Bolo Ties:  Men's Fashion

Focusing on the history and artistry of this contemporary art form, over 100 Native American made bolos and other men's jewelry tell the story of Native involvement in creating bolo ties.  Open    October 30, 2010 - February 6, 2011.


Intrigue and Novelty

“Intrigue and Novelty” highlights the work of 9 contemporary Native American women artists portraying images of Native tradition and pop iconography.  Open October 30, 2010 - February 6, 2011.




Dazzling Colors:  The Evolution of Plains Reservation Art

Dazzling Colors:  The Evolution of Plains Reservation Art highlights dozens of artifacts from the Mitchell Museum's permanent collection, including beaded clothing, quillwork, dolls, beaded purses, and more, using these pieces to tell the story of continuity and change at a time of rapidly changing lifeways for Plains tribal groups. Open July 3 - October 17, 2010


Baskets at Work: Utilitarian Baskets from

the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

Baskets have been made and used by many cultures throughout the world from ancient times through the present day. In American Indian cultures, baskets ranged from sacred ceremonial objects to household tools. The 21 baskets on display are examples of utilitarian baskets that played a major role in the gathering, production, and storage of food. September 2010


Pipes of the American Indian

Tobacco has been used by Native American people throughout history. Used principally for ceremonial use, European contact introduced the practice of smoking tobacco for pleasure. The innovation of smoking tobacco in pipes in North America differed from the Central, South American, and Caribbean practice of smoking tobacco wrapped in leaves in cigar form. While the shape and materials used to fashion pipes and pipe stems varies among regional and tribal lines, the practice of using tobacco is the most prominent common unifying element among the tribes of North America. Closed August 8, 2010.


Raising the Totem:  Exploring Northwest Coast Indigenous Cultures

Coinciding with the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, "Raising the Totem: Exploring Northwest Coast Indigenous Cultures" opened to the general public on Saturday, January 23. The exhibit highlighted the cultures of Native peoples of the Pacific Northwest and featured ceremonial cedar masks, totem pole models, flat art, baskets, rattles, and other items that help illustrate Northwest Coast spirituality, history, customs, and contemporary concerns. Closed June 13, 2010.


7 Artists, 7 Teachings

Seven contemporary Native American artists from the Great Lakes region explore their interpretations of the revered principles known as The Seven Grandfather Teachings in an exhibit on view September 20 to December 30, 2009.

A Mother's Touch: The Cradleboard Collection of the Mitchell Museum

Cradleboards — distinctively shaped infant carriers used by generations of Native Americans from almost every region — are featured. The exhibit consists of 11 cradleboards of Apache, Athabascan, Ojibwe, Paiute, Potawatomi, Ute, and Washo tribal origins, created from the late 19th to the late 20th century.

Earthworks: Virtual Explorations of the Ancient Ohio Valley

American Indian cultures that once flourished in the Great Lakes and Ohio/Mississippi River Valleys constructed geometric and animal-shaped earthworks that often rivaled Stonehenge in their astronomical accuracy. Their descendants include the historic tribes of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. Now this lost heritage from the Adena, Hopewell and Fort Ancient cultures is returning in the form of a new exhibit that will include virtual reconstructions of earthworks from 39 sites.

Meet the Collectors: June and Bernard Kleban

New Jersey natives June and Bernard Kleban spent a month-long honeymoon touring the Southwest by car, after their wedding in 1953. They immediately fell in love with American Indian cultures and peoples during their first holiday and it is a love affair that has lasted. Collecting from 1953 until 2004, their focus was on bolo ties, jewelry, katsinas and dolls - all of which are represented in this exhibition.

Woody Crumbo (Potawatomi)

Woodrow "Woody" Crumbo (January 21, 1912 – April 4, 1989) was an American Indian artist, flute player, dancer , prospector and humanitarian. A member of the Potawatomi tribe, he was born near Lexington, Oklahoma, on his Potawatomi mother’s reservation allotment. Woody Crumbo's paintings are in numerous museums, galleries and private collections including the University of Oklahoma; The Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Museum of Northern Arizona; Indian Arts and Crafts Board of the U.S. Department of Interior; The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., among many others.

Jacob Wilson (Inupiat)

A series of atmospheric, mixed-media drawings inspired by memories of northern Alaskan vistas are on view in “Inupiatscapes,” through March 29, 2009. The exhibit is the first solo show for Alaska-born Jake Wilson, 39, who is of Inupiat descent.


"The Power of Tradition”

The group exhibition, "The Power of Tradition,” which opened January 10, 2009 showcases beadwork by Karen Ann Hoffman, an Oneida Indian from Wisconsin, Barbara Little-Bear DeLisle, a Mohawk from Quebec, Canada, and paintings by Towanna Miller, a Mohawk from Quebec. DeLisle and Miller are mother and daughter.


Tuesday – Saturday:
10am – 5pm
Thursday: 10am – 8pm
Sunday: 12pm – 4pm

Adults: $5.00
Children, students, teachers, seniors: $3.00
Mitchell Members: FREE
Tribal Members: FREE


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