Museum of Natural History to Feature Native American Jewelry

On Oct. 30, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City will open “Totems to Turquoise: Native North American Jewelry Arts of the Northwest and Southwest.” The exhibit will include some 500 pieces of historic and contemporary jewelry and artifacts. According to Steve Reichl, senior publicity manager for the museum, the exhibit will celebrate “the beauty, power, and symbolism of the magnificent tradition of Native American arts.”

On view through July 10, 2005, “Totems to Turquoise” examines techniques, materials, and styles that have evolved over the past 100 years as Native American jewelers have adapted to technical, societal, and commercial changes, transforming their traditional craft into an artistic, as well as cultural, expression.

The exhibition will showcase artwork from the Haida, Kwakwaka’wakw, Tsimshian, Gitxsan, Nisga’a, Tlingit, Nuu-chah-nulth, Haisla, and Salish tribes of the Northwest, and the Navajo, Zuni, Hopi, Santo Domingo, Taos and other Pueblos, Apache, and Tohono O’odham tribes of the Southwest. In addition, a broad selection of contemporary totem sculptures, historic and contemporary masks, boxes, weavings, figures, pottery, and other artworks will be on display, many from the museum’s own collections.

“Totems to Turquoise” co-curators are Peter Whiteley, curator of North American Ethnology in the Museum’s Division of Anthropology, and Lois Dubin, lecturer and author of several authoritative books on Native American jewelry.

For more information on the exhibition, call (212) 496-3411 or visit