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North America Collections

Blackfoot beadwork from the Plains. Obsidian blades from the Hopewell site. Transformation masks from the Northwest coast. Archaeological textiles from the Southwest. The Field Museum serves as a steward for hundreds of thousands of objects from throughout North America.

The Museum's collections from the Arctic and Subarctic evidence the many-faceted adaptations of human societies to stark, changing environments.

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Blackfoot beadwork from the Plains. Obsidian blades from the Hopewell site. Transformation masks from the Northwest coast. Archaeological textiles from the Southwest. The Field Museum serves as a steward for hundreds of thousands of objects from throughout North America.

The Museum's collections from the Arctic and Subarctic evidence the many-faceted adaptations of human societies to stark, changing environments.

Another strength of the Museum's North American collections is the material culture of groups in the Plains and Montane regions. They reflect the long history of migration and diversification of Native people across the heartland of America.

In the Museum's collections from the southwestern United States, prehistoric specimens have played a role in understanding the origins of agriculture in the region.

The Museum holds a large collection of material from the Hopewell Culture of Ohio dating back more than 2,000 years. It is one manifestation of the far-flung Hopewell network that extended over much of the eastern United States and included trade in copper, obsidian, pearls, exotic flints, mica, and quartz.


Image above: Haida house model, which was originally displayed in the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Catalog Number 21.17990. © The Field Museum, A114410_02d, Photographer John Weinstein.

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Collections

Since its founding, The Field Museum has devoted considerable attention to the Native peoples of North America. The result is a series of collections of striking depth, strong in recent history and contemporary culture. Staff collaborate actively with Native American groups...
Our growing collection of obsidian from sources in the Mountain West allow us to identify the geological origin of obsidian artifacts housed in our collections, as well as those acquired during ongoing archaeological research projects.
The Field Museum of Natural History has an extensive collection of valuable archaeological materials from the southwestern United States from work conducted between 1930 and the early 1970s, when Paul Martin was involved in excavations at 69 sites.
Between 1895 and 1910, the Museum collected most of its Native American ethnological and archaeological material to augment the collections obtained from the World's Columbian Exposition.
For six short months in 1893, Jackson Park in Chicago was home to one of the largest and most spectacular expositions of the 19th Century. Near the close of the Fair, The Field Columbian Museum (now The Field Museum) was founded.