"Historic Arkansas Museum is fortunate to display Native American objects that span prehistory, European contact and settlement, removal and the modern era," says Carey Voss, curator of exhibits at HAM. "The modern and contemporary objects are among my favorite pieces because they so often express resilience, adaptation, hope and triumph."
The original exhibit opened more than 10 years ago after years of collaboration with tribal representatives from the Caddo, Osage and Quapaw tribes. When it opened, it was one of the first major museum exhibits to tell their stories in the words of living members of those tribes.
"We Walk in Two Worlds" demonstrates the way native people walk in a spiritual and historical realm while simultaneously existing in a physical and contemporary world. Exhibits, events and educational programs conducted at the museum support such intentional reflection on spiritual and cultural histories in the contemporary world.
“When you enter this exhibit space, you are struck by the richness of the objects — from ceremonial pottery to a beautifully preserved buffalo robe," Voss says. "But there are also items that help build a bridge from the past to the present, like the Mickey Mouse fancy dance bustle.”
A refurbishment of the exhibit is scheduled to begin in fall of 2022, with many of the current displays (from private collections and borrowed from the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian) will return to storage, and a different group of objects will go on display.
The refurbishment process will be conducted with oversight from tribal representatives, and the updated exhibit will still focus on telling the stories of Arkansas' first people in their own words and from their own perspectives.
For more information on the exhibit, visit the Historic Arkansas Museum's website.