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With more than two million objects in the Maxwell Museum collections, there a lot of stories to tell.  Learn some of them here.

Cuneiform "messenger" tablet. King Šū-Sîn of Ur (Ur III dynasty), obverse (MMA 67.134.3)

Object Monday: Cuneiform Tablet Messenger Text

Posted on: Monday, April 24, 2023

This tablet dates to the reign of King Šū-Sîn of Ur of the Ur III dynasty, who ruled Mesopotamia around 2000 BCE. It is a messenger text, an administrative tablet that records the provisions provided to couriers who carried messages between... read more

Honeysuckle vine basket by Larry Croslin (MMA 85.36.2)

Honeysuckle vine basket by Larry Croslin (MMA 85.36.2)

Object Monday: Larry Croslin Basket

Posted on: Monday, July 11, 2022

This small basket was made by Cherokee artist Larry Croslin at a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) funded workshop held at the Maxwell Museum in September 1985. Croslin, who teaches basketry at the Taos Art School, is a member of the Cherokee... read more

Reindeer fur slippers (MMA 90.3.1)

Reindeer fur slippers (MMA 90.3.1)

Object Monday: Sámi reindeer fur slippers

Posted on: Monday, May 23, 2022

These slippers were made by a Sámi woman in Alaska in 1933.  The story of how she came to be in Alaska is embedded in the history of 19th century colonial expansion. 

In 1891, while touring Inuit villages of western Alaska, US Government... read more

Mukluks (MMA 87.37.8)

Object Monday: Alaskan Mukluks

Posted on: Monday, May 2, 2022

These adult mukluks (Yupik, kamiks in Inuit) were made by an unknown Native Alaskan in the 1960s or 70s.  

The soft leather soles of these mukluks wrap around the bottom of the wearer’s foot and are attached to the seal fur sides with... read more

Burna Little basket (MMA 83.43.1)

Ts'aa' ceremonial basket, made by Burna Little (MMA 83.43.1)

Object Monday: Ceremonial basket by Burna Little

Posted on: Monday, April 4, 2022

This Ts’aa’ (ceremonial basket) was made by Burna Little of Navajo Mountain around 1983. The coiled basket is made of natural and dyed sumac wrapped around a three-rod sumac core. Its edge consists of a distinctive herringbone braid rim that... read more

3 views of Ivory cribbage board (MMA 89.5.10)

3 views of Ivory cribbage board (MMA 89.5.10)

Object Monday: Walrus Ivory Cribbage Board

Posted on: Monday, March 21, 2022

This ivory walrus tusk carved by an unknown artist was used as a game board (cribbage board). Labeled “Nome Alaska 1905”, the scrimshaw engravings depict a rapidly urbanizing region. It is an example of a hybrid art form created by Inuit carvers... read more

Ceramic Owls, by Kalestewa family (MMA 76.68.12, 76.68.13)

Ceramic Owls, by Kalestewa family (MMA 76.68.12, 76.68.13), A:shiwi (Zuni)

Object Monday: Ceramic Owls

Posted on: Sunday, February 6, 2022

These two ceramic owl figurines were crafted by a Zuni potter of the Kalestewa family around the 1940s. They are both approximately 11 inches tall, and feature red eyes, beaks, and ears and a black and white feather design on their bodies. The... read more

Souvenir bark cloth (ngatu) from Tonga (MMA 2004.34.6)

Souvenir bark cloth (ngatu) from Tonga (MMA 2004.34.6)

Object Monday: Souvenir Tonga ngatu

Posted on: Monday, January 24, 2022

This souvenir bark cloth or ngatu (also called tapa) comes from the Kingdom of Tonga, a  Polynesian nation of some 100,000 inhabitants located ca. 1000 miles northwest of New Zealand. Consisting of 169 islands (36... read more

Owl Effigy Jar (MMA 2017.20.3)

Mata Ortiz owl effigy jar by Sabino Villalba

Object Monday: Mata Ortiz Owl Effigy Jar

Posted on: Monday, January 17, 2022

This effigy jar was crafted by renowned potter Sabino Villalba from the village of Mata Ortiz in Chihuahua, Mexico. The polychrome owl effigy, inspired by archaeological ceramics from the nearby site of Paquimé (Casas Grandes; ca. AD 1130-1450),... read more

Basket, Agnes Welch (MMA 88.65.91)

Planter Basket by Agnes Welch (MMA 88.65.91)

Object Monday: Agnes Welch Basket

Posted on: Monday, January 10, 2022

This 18 centimeter (7 inch) high basket, described as a planter container, was woven by Cherokee basket weaver Agnes Lossie Welch (1925-1997). She crafted it in white oak and walnut, with a design of plain plaiting of dark brown and orange dyed... read more