The National Museum of the American Indian is one of the museums that make up the Smithsonian Institution. Given its name, it should come as no surprise to learn that the museum is focused on the Native peoples who live in the Americas in the past as well as in the present. As such, there are few locations that are better than the National Museum of the American Indian’s NYC location for people who want to learn more about said cultures.
1. Understand the Sheer Number of Cultures that Fall Under the Label of Native American
It isn’t uncommon for Native Americans to be lumped together into a single group. Unfortunately, this brushes over the sheer number of Native cultures that lived in the Americas and continue to live in the Americas. Combined, the National Museum of the American Indian’s locations in Washington, D.C. and NYC host cover hundreds and hundreds of cultures, but it is important to note that there are still thousands and thousands more out there.
2. Learn to Distinguish Between Native Cultures
One of the reasons that Native Americans get lumped into a single group is the general lack of knowledge about the differences between different Native cultures. For example, most people in the United States will be able to tell that war bonnets are Native headgear. However, fewer people will be able to tell that war bonnets come from the Plains Indians. Never mind less iconic elements of Native American cultures. By visiting the National Museum of the American Indian’s NYC location, interested individuals can learn more about the different Native cultures that have existed and continue to exist.
3. Understand How the Present Came to Be
The present is the sum of what has happened in the past. As such, anyone who wants to understand the Americas of the modern world cannot do so without learning more about the Native peoples who have been living here long before European settlement. Suffice to say that the interactions between the two continue to shape the present in sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways.
4. Understand the Perspective of Native Peoples
Speaking of which, different experiences can make for very different opinions on the same issues. Due to this, if people want to understand the perspective of Native peoples on a wide range of modern issues, visiting the NYC location isn’t a bad place to start up the learning process.
5. Learn More About How Native Peoples Live in the Present
On a broader note, the National Museum of the American Indian isn’t limited to covering how Native peoples lived in the past. Instead, it also covers how Native peoples live in the present, which has been made possible by the institution’s partnership with a wide range of Native figures as well as Native communities. As such, if people are interested in learning more about people who don’t get a lot of attention in the popular consciousness, the National Museum of the American Indian is an excellent place to stop by.
6. Check Out One of the Biggest Collections of Native American Items On the Planet
Unsurprisingly, the National Museum of the American Indian boasts one of the biggest collections of Native American items that can be found on the entire planet. Better still, it is continuing to expand its collections as it continues to reach towards its goals, meaning that it is becoming more and more impressive over time.
7. Check Out One of the Widest-Ranging Collections of Native American Items On the Planet
With that said, one of the factors that really make said collection remarkable is the sheer range of Native cultures covered by it. Some Native cultures have received and continue to receive more public interest than others, meaning that their items tend to be easier to find. In contrast, if people are curious about some of the less mentioned Native cultures in the United States and beyond, these are the collections to check out.
8. Learn More About the Past of the New York Region
Like the rest of the Americas, what is now the New York region was already inhabited by Native peoples in the past. Naturally, the NYC location puts extra effort into covering these particular Native peoples than most of their counterparts, meaning that it is a great place to learn more about what the surrounding region was once like. Something that can be very strange but very interesting because everything can be both familiar and not so familiar at the same time.
9. Learn More About Native American Ingenuity
One of the most interesting things about humanity is our ability to use what we can find in our environment to make ourselves more capable of thriving in it. The Native peoples were no exceptions to this rule, which is why interested individuals might want to head on over to the imagiNations Activity Center to learn more about Native American ingenuity. Some potential examples range from how Mesoamericans created a predecessor to chewing gum to how other Native peoples created the predecessors to some of the most popular food crops in the present.
10. Visit the Museum Store
Soaking in knowledge is one thing; keep that knowledge is another. For those who are concerned about forgetting what they learn on their visit, there is always the museum store at the NYC location, which contains everything that they might need to help them retain information for a much longer period of time than otherwise possible. On top of that, if people want to check out some authentic examples of Native crafts, this is the place to visit for a beautiful and memorable keepsake.