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What will you see?

Journeying through the Plains Indian Museum allows you to explore the lives, culture, artistry, and history of the Plains Indians through both the seasons and broad themes. You’ll encounter objects both functional and beautiful. Here are some highlights of what you will see.

Buffalo Hide Nez Perce Tipi

Plains Indian peoples used almost every part of the buffalo for food, clothing, tools, or shelter. This rare buffalo hide tipi was made in the mid-1800s from at least 13 buffalo hides, sewn by women with sinew and decorated by men with natural pigments.

Burden Basket. NA.106.183


Baskets like this carried the bounty from gardens tended by women in the horticultural societies of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara peoples. Done solely by women, basket-making was a sacred art that entrusted the maker with special knowledge.

Native designs on contemporary shoe wear

Sneakers by St. Labre Indian School

In 2016, artists from St. Labre Indian School entered Van’s Sneakers Custom Culture competition in 2016, showcased their storytelling skills using a combination of traditional and contemporary techniques. Learn more about our collaborative education program with St. Labre.

Looking for more highlights throughout the Center?

There are abundant and amazing treasures to be found throughout the Center of the West’s five, world-class museums. Find a sampling of objects in each museum by checking out our Highlights Map.