“The blue popped, and I loved the teamwork we put into it.
I’m proud of what we did and how we learned how to do it.”
For the twelfth spring, the Plains Indian Museum hosted high school students, tribal elders, and teachers from St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana. The student’s spring visit is part of a collaborative program between St. Labre Indian Schools and the Plains Indian Museum. Seth MedicineBull, Jaden Stewart, Cehleesia Longknife, Haley Grinsell, and Evyn Grinsell examined objects and learned practical museum procedures. Their visit consisted of two days of intensive lessons with Center staff from curatorial, collections management, conservation, education, exhibits production, and registration. The students were excellent representatives of the Northern Cheyenne and Sioux Nations.
Prior to their visit, Plains Indian Museum staff asked the students to research our online collections and prepare labels for their exhibit. We had never asked the student to write their own labels before but were thoroughly impressed with their interpretations. Examples can be found on the image captions on this post. In their labels, the students reflected on how, what, and why objects were used in Plain’s culture. Coincidentally each piece in their case incorporated blue seed beads. One student’s explanation of a pair of moccasins: “The designs represent tipis, and the dominance of the blue colors connect with serenity and quietness.” Another student’s interpretation of a different pair of Cheyenne moccasins: “The light blue background reflects where the creator lives.”
CeCe’s Experience: What interested me the most was picking out the objects online and being able to see them in an exhibit. Setting the objects in the exhibit were quite easy (thanks to the curators and other people). I loved how the objects looked inside the exhibit, especially the colors. The blue popped, and I loved the teamwork we put into it. I’m proud of what we did and how we learned how to do it. The museum staff had taught us and helped us a lot. Overall, the experience at the museum was quite fascinating and has taught me all about the systems within the museum.
Seth’s Experience: During my time on the Cody museum trip, I really enjoyed the warm welcome the Buffalo Bill Center of the West staff gave us. I liked how the tour went and I liked how all the staff members knew so much about what they were doing and I can tell they enjoy their jobs. Setting up the exhibit was a real nice experience and was lots of fun. Exploring the vaults and all the other places downstairs, was pretty interesting. There is a lot to do in the museum world and it seems like a lot of work, but also fun. I really hope to come back sometime soon.
Evyn’s Experience: For me the best part was going to the conversation lab and meeting Beverly Perkins. The conservation room was exciting and we got to touch objects with acid free gloves. Beverly was very kind, exciting, and fun. She actually showed us some headdresses that were so old they were falling apart. Beverly showed us some objects, what they were made of, and how she treats them. Overall my trip to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West was very rewarding educationally.
Haley’s Experience: For me the best part of being at the museum was working with Gary Miller and learning how he does mounts for the objects. He was very welcoming and really got us involved with the materials.We learned how he makes the mounts and how he determines what to make them out of and, how to shape them on an object. We got to make our own little creation out of the plexiglass he uses for the mounts and, I thought that was really nice of him. Overall the trip to Cody was a great learning experience and very enjoyable.
Jaden’s Experience:The most enjoyable part for me was going into that one room with all the old artifacts [Vault Storage]; the room where we looked at and held our items with Hunter; and also deciding which items we were going to use. I liked the whole process with placing the objects where we would like, but then having to move them because they were not placed right in the case, or because the other objects were contradicting. Overall my experience with the Buffalo Bill Center of the West was a successful one.
The Plains Indian Museum staff were inspired by the students interpretations of moccasins, dolls, flutes, gauntlets, and other materials. The student’s case will be on display through the 2017 summer. Their other choices can be viewed via virtual exhibit here.