Idabel, OK (February 13, 2019)—The Museum of the Red River’s latest exhibit, Native American Cradles, is now open. The show features a range of cradles from most of North America. According to Museum curator Daniel Vick, “cradles are one of the most striking symbols of native American childhood”. He noted that they were made “only by the most skilled artisans”. Cradles were usually made as gifts for special newborns. Therefore, most mothers had to borrow a cradle from a relative or friend. A single cradle could be used for generations!
Cradle usage started to decline at the beginning of the twentieth century. This was partially due to the increased use of manufactured cribs and cradles. However, museums and private collectors also began buying cradles during this time. (Most of the Museum’s cradles are from this era.) Consequently, artists began making cradles mostly for commercial purposes. Today, cradles are still made by some but used only by a few. Instead, most are created for art competitions or to sell.
The Museum will have a free, guided walkthrough of the exhibit on February 28 at 6:30 pm. Eric Singleton, Ph.D., will lead the walkthrough. Singleton is Curator of Ethnology at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. More information about native American cradles is available on the Museum’s website. The exhibit closes April 14.