Lifeways: How People Live

We make and use objects to cope with our physical and social environments. These objects, or artifacts, provide a window into our lives and routines. The Museum’s Lifeways Gallery features objects from its permanent collections that illustrate the ethnological themes that define us—domestic life, beliefs, encounters, technology and art.

Acrocanthosaurus atokensis

One of the most ferocious dinosaurs of the Early Cretaceous period was discovered in 1983 on private land in McCurtain County by Sid Love and Cephis Hall, paleontologists by avocation. They managed to recover 50% of the skeleton—including the skull—making it the most complete specimen ever found. The Acrocanthosaurus atokensis displayed at the Museum of the Red River, is one of the earliest casts made. This exhibit is currently closed due to renovations.

Masks of Africa 

Ceremonial masks continue to be important in the lives of many Sub-Saharan Africans. Many use masks to celebrate rites of passage like birthdays, puberty and death. Most celebrations are somber as they are festive. They invoke ancestral powers, altruistic ghosts, or avenging spirits. Masks often play a key part in these rituals. The wearer—usually a man—assumes the guise of the mask’s spirit.

Unfortunately, the original meaning behind many masks has been lost. However, modern artists have become proficient at creating contemporary versions of traditional craft. The masks remain a unique expression of both the artist and their unique cultural traits

Amazon Exhibit, October 2017

As culturas Amazônicas

In many ways, the Amazonian Basin is similar to the American frontier during the 19th century. The Basin, which contains the world’s largest rainforest, is experiencing unprecedented exploitation, settlement, and development.  Consequently, its indigenous people are losing their land and their resources. Unsurprisingly, it has becoming increasingly difficult for people to maintain their traditional culture. However, some groups have managed to maintain their cultural identity by promoting—and often selling—traditional art… [Click here to read the full press release.]