The Museum of Native American History in Bentonville unveiled its newest exhibit today, a one ton wooly mammoth skeleton standing 12 feet tall and stretching 17 feet in length. It is believed to be between 12,000 and 20,000 years old.
The museum displays world-class artifacts and art of the original inhabitants of the Americas. It is the vision of David Bogle. His mission is to give visitors a deeper sense of how Native Americans lived. The Museum of Native American History is more than a Bentonville treasure. It is a national repository that honors the lives and cultures of the first Americans.
The museum gives people a portable handheld audio wand at no charge that provides each visitor with a self-guided tour. You press the numbers that correspond to the artifacts on display and so can pick and choose what you want to learn about as you walk through the Paleo-Indians over 10,000 years ago and on through the Reservation Period of the early 1900s.
The museum is located three minutes from the downtown square and just 10 minutes from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the full-sized Native American tepee on the grounds. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, call 479-273-2456 or visit www.monah.us/.
Some of the artifacts you will see on display include:
Arrowheads – one of the most diverse and complete collections of prehistoric stone tools and they are always adding to their collection. (Note if you have kids 15 and younger, there is a new arrowhead hunt offered for free.)
Sweetwater Bi-Face Knife – Found in Texas and one of the thinnest and most recognizable flint artifacts ever found.
Mississippian Head Pots– The museum contains the most examples of authentic Mississippian head pots ever displayed to the public. The museum has a new interactive feature adjacent to the head pot exhibit. Visitors can look into the mirrored glass and see how they might look as a member of the culture as their features overlap with the life-sized floating terracotta head.
Quapaw Pottery – The museum has an extraordinary range of significant effigy & utilitarian pottery. The new Quapaw collection includes a crouching fawn teapot, deer effigy teapot, fish effigy bottle, double headed dog, and a tail rider turtle and duck.
Medicine Chest – The trunk is a kit has two levels full of glass containers filled with the displayed herbs, minerals and the necessary tools to treat a variety of human ailments including: heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.
Spiro Mound Woodpecker Axe – It depicts a pileated or ivory billed woodpecker, that were important to the Native Americans as not only a food source, but their feathers and beaks were used for decoration. This axe has a Celt through the birds opened mouth and eyes made of inlaid shell. The handle is made from persimmon wood and the celt bit is made of copper from the Great Lakes area of the United States. This is the only axe of its type that exists in a private collection and it is considered one of the rarest prehistoric artifacts in North America.
Shell Cameo – One of only five face pendants that were found at Spiro Mounds in LeFlore County, Oklahoma. It has been referred to as “The Face of Spiro,” depicting the people of that time period. The pendant is carved from a fragment of conch shell that originally came from the Gulf Coast.
Indian Scout Uniform – This blue military uniform was issued to an Indian Scout, who then decorated it or a more personal touch. It’s adorned with two strips of beadwork and tassels of hair on the arms. Only with a special light can you see faint ochre yellow painted hands and designs along the front and arms.
Paiute Wedding Dress – This fine beaded dress is admired and studied by visiting artisans of today. The beads were applied in a pattern known as overlay stitch. The leather doeskin is as soft and supple as woven fabric.
Iroquoian (Cherokee) Booger Mask – This mask was carved from eastern cedar (Juniper) in the 18th century. However, it was abandoned, like so many other possessions, by its Cherokee owners in Tennessee on their long journey to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. The mask is described and identified as an early example of a booger mask. Booger masks portray and mock bad-mannered people.
Mayan Façade – A decorative panel from a temple in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is made from painted stucco that was created from crushed limestone, sand and water. The image on the front is a jaguar mask with smoke scrolls and ear spools.