“Storytelling: Inspiring Traditions for Generations” Opens January 24th at Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

header (1)EVANSTON, ILLINOIS – The newest exhibit at the Mitchell Museum entitled “Storytelling: Oral History and Beyond” looks at the many ways Native Americans tell the history of their people through visual and oral traditions.  In American Indian life ways, many stories are meant to teach children the customs and beliefs of their tribes while recording contemporary histories.  The exhibit opens Saturday January 25th 2014 and provides a window into American Indian and First Nations story traditions and artifacts from across the United States and Canada.

Across the country, there are hundreds of thousands of stories that make up the oral traditions of North America’s first people.  Stories that share, record, entertain, and teach others about this life and culture.  In the exhibit, you can consider contemporary issues facing American Indian cultures, such as language preservation and land ownership.  Learn how American Indians use storytelling traditions as tools to face these concerns. Likewise, you will explore ways in which storytelling is toldbeyond the oral tradition, including Plains Indian Sign Talk (PST), dance, and art.

In the exhibit, explore major themes including creation, animal personalities, Trickster tales, and prophecies.  Come gather around our campfire and exchange stories of your own.  Discover how and why winter counts are created, and contribute to the museum’s winter count of the year.  Share the history of America’s first people, and watch as the stories of the past become stories of today.

“This exhibit contains over sixty artifacts from tribes throughout the United States and Canada that share the unique ways American Indians and First Nations people share their traditions,” says Mitchell Museum curator, Melissa Halverson.  “An Ojibwe drum and Winnebego jingle dress represent song and dance.  A Navajo rug portrays Butterfly Maiden and her story is woven into the rug’s fabric. Storytelling is often imagined as something shared through books or oral history, meant for a specific time and place. But Native American story tradition is dynamic, and goes beyond pen and paper.  We are providing a space for people to participate in and learn about these traditions here at the Mitchell Museum.”

The Mitchell Museum is one of only a handful of museums in the country that focuses exclusively on the art, history and culture of American Indian and First Nation peoples throughout the United States and Canada.  In 2012, The Mitchell Museum was named “Best Museum of The North Shore: Up and Comer” by Make it Better magazine, won the Superior award by the Illinois Association of Museums and was named a national finalist by the American Association of State and Local History award program.

For more information about The Mitchell Museum of The American Indian, visitwww.mitchellmuseum.org or call 847-475-1030. The museum is open Tuesday-Wednesday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday- Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.  Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, students and children and Free for Mitchell Museum members and Tribal members.

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