Conversing with the Land: Native North American Baskets of the Maxwell Museum Collection
Wednesday, January 10, 2024
This exhibition celebrates Native North American basketry traditions as seen through the collections in the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. On display are finished objects: works of artistry, complexity, beauty, and use. Behind each basket is a deeper story. Their stories connect us to the lands on which they were made and to the materials from which they were constructed, embedded with profound seasonal knowledges and long-standing commitments to nurture and protecting the land for future generations.
Baskets hold stories of techniques passed within communities over generations, and of skills honed through years of practice. We do not hear the conversations, prayers, laughter, and songs shared among basket makers and users, but they are also present in these objects. And each also tells of use and needs: to store, to carry, to gift, to celebrate, to mourn, to sell, to repair; and to purchase, collect, and display.
The lessons of these baskets and their makers are not solely of the past. They are also of the present and future. They are stories of survivance, persistence, pride, creativity, and of the ongoing work to protect the land and maintain knowledge in times of environmental and social upheavals. In this exhibition, we share some of these stories with you.
Find the labels for all of the baskets in the exhibition here.