Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

National Museum of the American Indian Collections

National Museum of the American Indian Collections – http://www.nmai.si.edu/searchcollections/home.aspx

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What kind of rattle might a Tlingit child have played with?
  • What sort of Cherokee archaeological artifacts might be found in Georgia?
  • What kind of beaded moccasins might a Mohawk child have worn?


From the web site:

Welcome to NMAI Collections Search, which includes a representative sample of NMAI’s object and historic photo collections. Each item is accompanied by basic, standardized information. To become familiar with the site, start with one of the Collection Highlight tours or search the website using this page or the tabs at the top.

Our goal is to include as many items as possible, but objects and photos will be added only when NMAI staff have reviewed the accuracy of accompanying information. Items identified as culturally sensitive or which are no longer part of NMAI’s collections will not appear on this website. Please contact NMAI about providing additional information or correcting any errors.

Records for many objects include their original catalog cards, which often date to the early 1900s. These cards may include tribal names and terminology considered unacceptable or offensive today but they have been included to illustrate the information that originally accompanied the objects.

To search the database, choose one of the following tabs: Peoples/cultures, artists/individuals, places, object specifics or advanced search. Different search criteria will appear.

Examples of objects with photo records here include:

  • Tlingit oystercatcher rattle
  • Cherokee pipe bowl
  • Mohawk pin cushion
  • Mayan Lancet/Blood-letting implement

This database should be of aid in ensuring that the right artifacts are used by the correct tribes in your story.


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