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Native American Museum Essay

1596 words - 6 pages

George Gustav Heye Center - The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian is a fascinating building at the Bowling Green area of Lower Manhattan. It’s close to Battery Park that displays an elegant view of the water. You can see ferries floating by headed towards Staten Island, since South Ferry Terminal is nearby. It allows you to appreciate the hidden gems of the city located in the outskirts Manhattan. One of those very treasures is the museum mentioned previously.
The Museum of the American Indian is directly in front of the Bowling Green Park with a water fountain at the center. From the park view you can see the front of the museum. It has stone steps with statues on the sides. Walking in to the museum up the grand stairs led me to the entrance protected by security with metal detectors. Out of the various museums I’ve previously visited in NYC this was the first time I’ve encountered going through metal detectors, maybe because the museum is free and open to the public?
From that point on there’s a digital interactive guide that displays the layout of the museum and location of the exhibits. The museum is divided into quadrants with an elliptical rotunda in the middle. The rotunda is illuminated by natural light from the glass dome with skylights above you. Also when you look up you can see extraordinary symbolic painting on the ceiling. From the center of the rotunda you can go left or right to see the exhibits of Native Americans. For some reason I felt like going in through the left, aside from the fact that the right side was closed for renovations. I headed left into the “Time Exposure” exhibit by the Haudenosaunee Discovery Room. When entering the exhibit it can seem a bit disoriented, but you just have to follow the only direction it has, a semi-circle, so it's almost impossible to get lost. The gallery currently being presented was the Isleta Pueblo exhibit.
Time Exposures: Picturing a History of Isleta Pueblo in the 19th Century exhibit was reflected everything that was covered in anthropology class, such as the influence of imperialism taking over Native American culture and society. “This exhibition, organized by the Pueblo of Isleta, tells the story of life on the Isleta Indian Reservation in the 19th century and its lasting effects on life today.” The Smithsonian press release explain that “In 1881, the railroad companies forcibly took land in the center of Isleta Pueblo in the Rio Grande Valley and the rail lines built there brought scores of tourists.” Overall, the Time Exposures portray the Isleta Pueblo Native American lives before the arrival of other visitors. Furthermore, the changes imposed on the Natives in the subsequent years, along with the ways in which the people of Isleta Pueblo attempted to preserve their way of life. “’Time Exposures’ is divided into three parts. In the first section, the cycle of the Isleta traditional year as it was observed in the mid-19th century is detailed. The second...

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