.All Trips / D.C. / North America / Southeastern USA

The Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC

02 Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian is just one of the many terrific Smithsonian museums in Washington DC.  As its name implies, the museum exists to share information about Native cultures.  There is an extensive collection of Native artifacts, photographs, and media of tribes ranging from the Arctic to Patagonia.

The Museum of the American Indian is one of the newer buildings on the National Mall, having opened in September 2004.  The five-story 250,000-square-foot building was designed by Douglas Cardinal (an architect of the Blackfoot tribe).  It is covered in golden Kasota limestone and has a wavy shape designed to mimic natural rock formations shaped by the erosive effects of wind and water.  The museum is situated on a 4.25 acre (17,200 m2)-site and its landscaping simulates wetlands.

Birch bark canoe, Museum of the American Indian

Birch bark canoe, Museum of the American Indian

The grounds of the museum have some interesting exhibits, like these totems and the statue of a Buffalo Dancer.  As with most of the Smithsonian’s museums, the extent of the exhibits are beyond one’s ability to visit absorb in one visit.  Here’s just a few of the sights I photographed from the museum’s interior:

I found the above Ojibwe birch bark canoe especially interesting, as I’d often heard of them as a school boy but had only rarely seen how carefully and cleverly constructed they were.  The skin of the canoe is actual bark from a birch tree, held together by a tar made of pine sap and ashes.

Mitsam Restaurant, Museum of the American Indian

Mitsam Restaurant, Museum of the American Indian

I had first visited the museum because its restaurant, Mitsitam, had been recommended as being one of the best in the region.  It was very good –I enjoyed a tasty bison burger and freshly made potato chips.

(Click on the thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)

 

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