Some of the most significant works in Native American art and history will return to the public view in New York City at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the George Gustav Heye Center, beginning Oct. 23.

“Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian” comprises some 700 works that span the hemisphere from prehistory to the present day.

Highlights include:

  • A display of 10 headdresses, including a 5-foot Kayapo macaw-and-heron feather headdress from Brazil, a Yup’ik bentwood hunting hat adorned with ivory carvings from the Arctic and a rare Assiniboine antelope-horn headdress from the northern Plains.
  • A peace medal granted by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay in 1676 during King Philip’s War given to Native scouts recruited from a forced internment camp. These scouts later were instrumental in securing land rights for their people.
  • Leg garters associated with the legendary Seminole leader Osceola (1803-1838).
  • A ceremonial pipe-tomahawk presented to Chief Tecumseh (Shawnee, 1768-1813) by British commander Col. Henry Proctor, during the War of 1812.

The collections of the National Museum of the American Indian are considered to be one of the most extensive holdings of Native American arts and artifacts in the world. The majority of objects were assembled by George Gustav Heye (1874–1957), founder of the former Museum of the American Indian.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York, the George Gustav Heye Center, is located at One Bowling Green in New York City, across from Battery Park.

The museum is free – go to www.americanindian.si.edu to learn more.