Monday, April 28, 2008

Living History

Fox, Fae, dad, and I went to the National Museum of the American Indian yesterday. I've heard several things about this place: that it's incomplete, it doesn't have a lot of information, also that it's really great, and that you can go through it in one or two hours. While it looks like there could have been more exhibits, there was a ton of information. So much, in fact, that we had a hard time taking it all in during the course of one afternoon. I missed a lot that I know would interest me. That just means we'll have to go back.

This is the fountain on the Mall side of the building. There was a huge boulder on the other side of the walkway that amplified the sound made by the waterfall. It was really neat.

One of the exhibits was an exploration of women's dress. Here is just one example. I am not sure if I'm remembering correctly, but I believe this was a three-hide dress. Yes, all those colors are tiny seed beads. Amazing!

None of my outings are ever complete without some dolls. This is only one part of the case of dolls. Some were very abstract and some were exceptionally detailed. I bought a pair of Navajo dolls in the gift shop.

Those of you who know me also know that I love languages. Did you know that Cherokee actually has a written form? You Windows Vista users have a font loaded on your computers. This was the part of the museum that made me quite sad. Oral traditions are so easy to lose. As young people stop learning their native languages, the stories that are told in them will be lost. Some languages have already been lost, though the descendants of those who once spoke them remain. I mourn the loss of words, and all the wonderful stories that could be told by them.

I admit that I haven't done a really good job of describing this place. It's one of those things that you just have to see. This museum is unique. It's not all about something that is gone, it's about people and culture that is still around today. Frankly, no amount of blogging I could do today would do it justice. How about I just say we were there for about five hours, and didn't come close to reading every word.


Anonymous said...

Let me add one more positive aspect to our outing for your readers. The food at the National Museum of the American Indian is not your normal fare, it was ethnic foods & of high quality, an experience not to be missed & worth going back just for it.

Fyrecreek said...

Right! Yummy food! Just remember to bring some $$ with you, all museum eateries are not exactly cheap.

Of course, what do we really have to compare with the prices of bison burgers?