Learning to Look and Object Investigation
The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has one of the most extensive collections of Native American arts, objects, and photographs in the world, representing over 12,000 years of history and more than 1,200 indigenous cultures throughout the Americas. The collection represents communities from the entire Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic to the southern tip of South America. Long before their contact with Europeans, Indigenous people populated the Americas and were successful stewards and managers of the land, from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego. Currently, the museum is committed to expanding its holdings of art by contemporary Native American artists.
Museum staff believe that we are stewards of the collection and have a responsibility to care for and share access to it through a variety of means, including an online collections search, exhibitions, education programs, websites, and publications. The collections and their associated information have remarkable potential for increasing public awareness and comprehension of American Indian arts, lives, cultures, and histories. Learning from museum collections can help students develop critical thinking and communication skills. This diagram shows one way to start the path to becoming object investigators. It contains four steps:
Encourage your students to share what they drew and wrote. With practice, students will enhance their independent thinking skills and will become accomplished object investigators!