Fall has officially begun in Chicago as the weather gets cooler it’s a great time to head indoors to the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian. The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is one of the few museums in the United States that focus on history, culture, and the arts of the Native people of the United States and Canada.
The Museum started in 1977 it houses a collection of native artifacts, pottery, baskets, clothing, and art from the various tribes of Native Americans. Many of the museum’s exhibits changes including one called the touching tables where visitors can touch works of art such as pottery, baskets, beadwork, clothing, and stone tools that were used by the American Indians. The museum also leads school and group tours by docent trained in Native American art.
The museum hosts a variety of performances including music, dance, and drum workshops taught by Native American artists. Families are included in craft days on Saturdays from 11:00 am to noon, and Sunday’s 12:30 am to 1:30 pm. The craft hours involve the museum staff and volunteers to lead informal 60 minute sessions where children create traditional Native American objects.
Children and parents are encouraged to make their own art as well as take their creations home to continue the discussion on Native American life. The kids craft mornings are recommended for children ages 4 and up.
One exhibit currently open until 2013 is changing views of American Indian fine art which showcases Native artists from the late 18th century to modern times This exhibit features work by Woody Crumbo, Dan Namingha, and other well known artists. The exhibit is depicted to show the various perceptions of Native art and culture.
One concept to keep in mind when visiting the museum is to start a discussion on family traditions and we keep them alive for generations to come. One lesson that can be done after the visit to the museum is described below.
The objective of this lesson is show the importance of family traditions and the importance of keeping them in our families for generations to come.
White Drawing Paper
1. Take the white drawing paper and oil pastels and ask the child to draw a picture of a family tradition such as baking a family dish or singing a bedtime song, anything that has been passed down from generation to the next.
2. Once the children have drawn the event start a conversation on how we can continue to keep these traditions new in their current families.
3. Frame the completed picture and use as a keepsake for the family.