The Indian Museum of North America is recreating galleries to explore native cultures through various concepts

CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL, S.D. — Sitting a top a hill, beneath the immense carving of Crazy Horse, is The Indian Museum of North America. Soon, the museum will expand to the far corners of the continent in order to tell the story of tribes – from the Arctic to Central America.

This move is an attempt to redefine how the public sees a museum.

“Our mission is to preserve Native American history, culture and living heritage,” says Museum Curator, Andrew Dunehoo.” And that mission throughout the years has been presented through The Indian Museum of North America and The Indian University of North America. The job of the museum is to present artifacts and items that help to kind of highlight the cultures from across the continent.”

The idea – to explore many native cultures through concepts of geography, home and community, ecology and food, adornment, leadership and art.

“Each and every section will be organized by cultural concept so you’ll see that eco-regions idea of that core cultural concept in each and every section,” says Dunehoo. “The process of choosing items then becomes rather difficult because we find how do we represent those stories through those various groups.”

The facilities are a combined 60,000 sq. ft. with talks of expanding further. There are 11,000 artifacts, within six galleries, and each have a potential role in the new museum makeup.

“Artifacts within a museum kind of serve as a highlight to the greater story,” says Dunehoo. “Our job now is to really bring out, and flush out that story.”

The Modern and Contemporary Art gallery is finished. The rest of the project – Dunehoo hopes – will be finished within the next three to five years.

Working closely with people like John Goes in Center, member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, and Sean Sherman, “The Sioux Chef,” The Indian Museum of North America and the Ziolkowski family (children of designer for the Crazy Horse Memorial, Korczak Ziolkowski) will be able to continue educating on native cultures and demonstrating the intersection of them all.

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