Museum of the American Indian

By Meghana Kotraiah and Stephanie Povich


The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is a component of the Smithsonian Institution. It is located in Washington D.C. in a gorgeous limestone building. The original building, was in New York, and was founded by George Gustav Heye. The museum is committed to bringing Native voices to what the museum writes and presents. It has space for exhibitions, collections, performances, speeches, and lectures.


The collections in the National Museum of the American Indian are collected mostly by George Gustav Heye. He was a New Yorker who made his first purchase in 1897 of a Navajo shirt in Arizona. His collection grew rapidly and by 1906, he had accumulated more than 10,000 objects. In 1916, Heye decided to open a museum after getting help from affluent friends and in 1989, the Museum of the American Indian moved to the Smithsonian Institution . The current building was built on the National Mall in 2004. All the collections are displayed, along with the travelling exhibitions.

Importance and Value

The Museum of the American Indian deserves to be honored and recognized for it's significance. It is associated with individuals who made a lasting contribution, has architectural merit, ad has great potential to help us better understand the past. This museum is of great importance to Naive American history.

This museum:

  • Helps us better understand the American Indians who contributed so much to our community.
  • Has architectural merit.
  • Has great potential to contribute to a better understanding of our past.

It is truly an important and valuable museum and part of our community.

Association with individuals who made a lasting contribution:

The National Museum of the American Indian honors the Native peoples who made a lasting contribution. They gave us many things like squash, beans, cotton, rubber, & systems and values like respect and even government. The museum is associated with and showcases the works of the Native Americans, and teaches about them in educational and diverse ways. It is extremely important to our community to know about these individuals because the helped us in so many ways by contributing vital things to our society.
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The intricate exterior of the museum. It is home to many important collections.

Architectural Merit:

The beautiful museum took fifteen years to make and was opened in September 2004. The importance of the museum building is that it showcases the environment in which the Native Americans thrived and lived. It is a curvilinear building in a golden-colored Kasota Limestone design. The limestone represented the rocks and there are also stimulated wetlands around the building. It is designed to imitate natural rock formations shaped by wind and water over thousands of years.

Potentional to contribute to a better understanding of our past:

The museum's mission statement states that the museum's purpose is to advance understanding of the American Indians. They were very important people of our past, and we learnt many about many things from them. The museum is also home to large collections and exhibitions that also help teach us about our past. The collections showcase items of religious, historical, and aesthetic significance. They display the works of the Native Americans in diverse and educational ways. The Museum of the American Indian is very important to our community. because it helps us better understand the past.

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The collections in the museum have many items of historical, religious, and aesthetic value. These are some masks from the exhibitions.