Museums. Nuff said.

You might have expected this based on the fact I have a site and podcast devoted towards traditional skills and crafts but I’ll tell you anyway…. I love a good museum. To see the history and how people used to live is just amazing. Needless to say, I was looking for some examples of Shoshone (the tribe native to my area of the U.S.) work for a project that I was about to start and discovered that the Utah Museum of Natural History has an online, searchable, database (anthropology department available here). Not surprising in this day and age I guess. Still it was a wonderful discovery for me!

But that got me thinking. . . If the state museum has an online database, why wouldn’t one a little bigger? So I looked at one that I figured would be of more use to the majority of you. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (link to the anthropology dept here). And their collection is MASSIVE!! Want to see examples of ancient copper knives before you make one? 66 results. Bone needle? 544 results. Bow?? 2842 results! If you can’t find examples here that give you ideas than I’m not sure you’ll ever be inspired. This contends with Youtube for the ability to capture your attention with serious time-drain capabilities. It’s just fascinating to see it all!

That being said, unfortunately, the entire catalog has not been photographed yet. Sometimes it will tell you something exists in their archives. . . but you don’t even get a description. Disappointing yes, but their collection is extensive enough that I think you can probably find an example or two to study regardless. So if you’re wanting to find some inspiration, or just want to check out cool stuff, go wander their archives for awhile!

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