Permanent Exhibits

Pre-Columbian Mask (Olmec)

Lifeways Gallery 

We make and use objects to cope with our physical and social environments. These objects are often called artifacts by anthropologists. Artifacts provide a window into the most mundane and most special parts of our lives. The items on display in Lifeways illustrate the ethnological themes of domestic life, beliefs, encounters, and technology and art.

Among the items on display are two Conibo-Shipibo (Peru) jars, a jar by renowned Mexican ceramist Juan Quezada, and a Choctaw-style burden basket by Tom Colvin.

[Pictured: Mask, ca. 800 – 300 BC, Olmec (Mexico). Gift of Robert Chorost.]

Gregory S. Perino
Archaeological Study Area

The Study Area is a collection of regional archaeological material that honors the work of Gregory S. Perino, an archaeologist and the Museum’s first director. Among the displayed objects are dozens of stone points, tools and pipes. The space also features several examples of Caddoan pottery.

Caddo pottery is one of the finest prehistoric ceramic traditions in the United States. It evolved from the shapes of baskets and gourd containers that were used for storing and serving food. Historic accounts state that certain vessels were reserved for serving specific foods. One used for meat would not have been used for beans or corn. Others were used in ceremonial contexts.

Its intricate designs serve as symbols of Caddoan cosmology. Frogs, turtles, alligators and snakes represent the beneath world. Bears and other mammals depict the middle world or the world of man; birds  symbolize the above world…