Incoherent Indian Museum

Pottery – in what we thought was the best exhibit.

Another rainy day drove us Museum-ward: this time it was the Museum of the American Indian.

Now I have to admit to a bias here; I grew up watching westerns and playing cowboys and indians and I always wanted to be the Indian, they were the cool ones in my view. So I went into the Museum with the sensible me looking forward to learning some history about the Indians and the juvenile me looking forward to some cool stuff. Sadly both ‘me’s were disappointed.

The Museum is all post-modern – it’s a huge space filled with videos and a few pretty displays. There are a couple of famous or cool artefacts but they are given little significance – Geronimo’s guns for example. But that’s all there is and it’s organised in broad themes, rather than any sequence, so its hard to understand what you are seeing in any context. As for any museum showing a whole pile of videos – don’t they know we could stay home and watch a video?

To be fair they are trying to cover huge diversity in a topic as vast as the Indian inhabitants of two continents. And, to still be fair, they have a political point to make about being thriving societies today. But after that bit of reasonableness, I’m left with the Museum just not being an interesting or even particularly educational visit for an adult. For the kids, it was pretty much a successful exercise in how to make what could be a fascinating topic completely dull.

You can’t win ’em all; and in this case we didn’t.

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