When our New York City workers compensation lawyers have time off work, we like to visit the multitude of museums the city has to offer. You can find a museum for essentially any aspect of American culture here. We recently decided to take a trip to the National Museum of the American Indian, and thought we’d share our thoughts on some of our favorite exhibits in the New York City location.

Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound

This exhibition features the work of ten indigenous artists who use light, digital projection, and experimental media. The common theme is a reflection of the artist’s relationship between traditional and mainstream cultures. The exhibition features sound art, digital media, and art installations which outline how indigenous cultures and creativity have evolved through the years and into the digital age.

Artists featured in Transformer include:

  • Jordan Bennett (Mi’kmaq)
  • Raven Chacon (Diné)
  • Jon Corbett (Métis)
  • Marcella Ernest (Ojibwe)
  • Stephen Foster (Haida)
  • Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit)
  • Julie Nagam (Anishnawbe/Métis)
  • Marianne Nicolson (Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw)
  • Keli Mashburn (Osage)
  • Kevin McKenzie (Cree/Métis)

The exhibition is curated by Kathleen Ash-Milby (Diné), National Museum of the American Indian, and David Garneau (Métis), University of Regina.

Akunnittinni: A Kingait Family Portrait

Akunnittinni is an Inuit word which loosely translates to “between us.” This exhibition features a conversation through art between three generations of Inuk women – a grandmother, mother, and daughter. The three artists featured in Akunnittinni include Pitseolak Ashoona (1904-1983), Napachie Pootoogook (1938-2002), and Annie Pootoogook (1969-2016). These artworks tell the story of three generations of Inuit women, including pieces that discuss autobiographical narratives, intimate and sometimes difficult memories, and historically significant moments.

Various prints and drawings include pop culture references and detailed depictions of family and village life. The Kingaits are a community based in the remote arctic and are internationally known for their artwork.

Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America’s Past Revealed

This exhibition is bilingual (English/Spanish) and examines the progression of Central American ceramics beginning in 1000 BC all the way through present day. There are over 150 artifacts on display here, from present-day Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. These ceramics help tell the history of these various indigenous cultures. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian Latino Center.

Circle of Dance

Circle of Dance is a celebration of Native dance and an examination of how it acts as a form of cultural expression. Visitors to this exhibit will watch ten social and ceremonial dances from various cultures based throughout North and South America. This exhibit shows how traditional Native American dance and music has helped maintain old traditions and develop new ones, and how these dances celebrate tribal, village, clan, social, and individual identities.

Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian

This permanent exhibition features approximately 700 pieces of Native art from all over North, Central, and South America. It’s essentially the centerpiece of the museum and a must-see for all visitors. Artwork featured in this exhibition include headdresses, a robe with illustrations of a warrior’s battles, a Mayan limestone bas relief with a depiction of a ball player, a beaded Inuit tulli (woman’s inner parka), a hand drug, baskets, carved gourds, and much more.