Plains Indians at Nelson-Atkins Museum


photo by Leslie R. Adams and courtesy of the Nelson-Atkins Museum

On Thursday the 6th we toured the Plains Indians exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum. We saw some beautiful and amazingly detailed works created by Plains Indians artists – from beading, to leatherwork, various forms of painting to photography. The kids were able to see a winter counts pictograph, and our wonderful docent explained how it was used as a way to commemorate important events in a person’s life. Each child was given a pictograph to take home and complete on their own, which made for a nice follow-up activity. Some of us explored the tipis on the lawn of the museum afterwards.

All in all, this exhibition is full of wonderful examples of art from a number of different tribes. We enjoyed seeing the intricacy of the artworks – you can only imagine the patience necessary for all the beadwork! It was also interesting to compare works from over a hundred of years ago to current art – each generation has taken the various art mediums and made them their own.

Two links to view materials related to this exhibition:

Interactive Ledger Art:

Silver Horn’s work is on display at the Nelson-Atkins in Gallery 208. In this online slideshow you can flip through his book of 75 drawings.

Video Interviews with Contemporary Native American Artists represented in the exhibition:

In this video, artists discuss their work and their identity as Native-American artists living and working today.


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