Essay No. 01
A Visit To A Museum
A visit to a museum in interesting as well as educative. We can understand a lot about the history and culture of a country, its industry, arts, fashions etc. by visiting a museum. Last Sunday, I along with some of my intimate friends, went to a museum at Delhi. We bought tickets and entered the museum. The bug building was divided into a number of sections. On entering the building, we saw separate sections containing many idols of Hindu gods. They looked life-like and impressive. Then we found ourselves in a hall decorated with rare pictures and paintings. We then moved to the history section. We saw certain objects belonging to the various periods of history. We then went to a big room full of ancient weapons and amours, like heavy swords, lances and shields. We saw bows, arrows, guns, spears, statues, idols, manuscripts etc. In another section we saw Kashmiri shawls, Amritsari shawls, Amritsari carpets, Peshawari embroidered turbans and rugs and many other specimens from different parts of India. The art gallery impressed us the most. It had beautiful paintings of fruits, flowers and natural landscapes. We also saw beautiful ivory work, coins and jewellery kept in showcases in another section. Then we came to a section which displayed rare manuscripts. My eyes rested on a manuscript said to belong to the Gupta period of the Indian History. A gold coin coined during Vikramaditiya’s reign drew out attention. In this way a visit to a museum provided us with a rich feast of ideas. It left a deep imprint on my mind.
Essay No. 02
A Visit to a Museum
Museums are the repositories of antique items. They are, in reality, great historical, anthropological and archaeological monuments which tell us about the ancient world, how it developed over the centuries and how the human beings and animals lived in the past and so many other things like ancient art, crafts, etc.
Last week, I went to visit the local branch of the national museum which is situated in the heart of my town.
I went into the section of extinct species. Prominently among them were placed the models and charts of various kinds of dinosaurs. Possibilities of the extinction of the dinosaurs were presented in charts and through diagrams.
I saw a piece of the rock that had been brought from the moon by Neil Armstrong. I also saw coins of the past dynasties. Some of them were made of gold, others of silver and still others of copper and nickel.
I also saw several ancient household goods and utensils such as cups, plates, saucers, cauldrons, spoons, ladels, griddles, toy models of animals such as cows, buffaloes, goats, oxen, horses, cats, dogs, rats, etc.
Some clay models of birds such as parrots, sparrows, pigeons, eagles, hawks, vultures, crows, etc. were also there.
The most interesting ones were the models of human beings. Among them there were toys of men, women, boys, girls, infants in mothers, arms, etc. The men and women wore dresses of different fashions and kinds. All the models and toys belonged to different places and periods. It was explained by guides and the curator and was also written on several charts and explanatory sheets of paper.
As I returned home, I felt I was puffing with new knowledge.
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"More Than Meets the Eye: Gertrude Kasebier’s ‘Indian’ Photographs," with Helena Wright, guest editor. The History of Photography Journal (Winter 2000).
Examines the “Indian” photographs by Gertrude Kasebier, in NMAH collections, and compares her work to the clichés of 19th century Native photography.
"A Modest Proposal: The Museum of the Plains White Person," in Senator Robert Torricelli, Andrew Carroll, and Andrew Dubill, eds. In Our Own Words: Greatest Speeches of The American Century. Kodansha America, Inc., 1999.
A satirical reversal of the usual representation of Native Americans in museums.
The British Museum Encyclopedia of Native North America, with Melanie Fernandez. London, Bloomington, IN, Toronto, Canada: British Museum Press, 1999.
Up-to-date histories and cultures of first peoples (North America) from a native perspective; highly illustrated, with stories, poems, eye-witness, first person accounts from native peoples on events, issues, art, mythologies, gender roles, economics, contact, sovereignty, self-determination, land, environment. Uses artifacts from the collections at the British Museum and Smithsonian.
"By The Waters of the Minnehaha: Music, Pageants and Princesses in the Indian Boarding Schools." with John Troutman. In M. Archuleta, T. Lomawaima and B. Child. Away From Home: American Indian Boarding Schools. Phoenix, AZ: The Heard Museum, 1999.
Explores government and missionary attempts to assimilate Indians in boarding schools, and many of the student’s adaptive strategies for cultural preservation and resistance.
Heartbeat: Voices of First Nations Women, 1995, and Heartbeat II, 1998. Producer, with Howard Bass. CD/audiocassette recording. 79 minutes. Smithsonian Folkways.
A landmark sound recording in 2 volumes, of the music of contemporary American Indian women.
"Down Home In the City: A Store-Bought Remembrance." Wine, Food and the Arts, II: Works Gathered By the American Institute of Wine and Food. San Francisco: AIWF and Swan’s Island Books, 1997.
An essay on food and memory.
"We Never Saw These Things Before': Southwest Indian Laughter and Resistance to the Invasion of the Tse va ho." In M. Weigle and Barbara Babcock. The Great Southwest of the Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railway. Phoenix: The Heard Museum, 1996.
An essay on the uses of traditional and contemporary visual art and material culture as a form of resistance among Pueblos.
"The Texture of Memory: Historical Process and Contemporary Art." In S. Cahan and Zoya Kocur. Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education. New York: Routledge and the New Museum for Contemporary Art, 1996.
An essay on contemporary Native visual art as commentary on history.
From Ritual to Retail: Pueblos, Tourism and the Fred Harvey Company. Producer/Director. 17 minute documentary short video. Produced in association with the exhibition, Inventing the Southwest: The Fred Harvey Company and Native American Art, 1995, Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ.
A film which explores the impact of the Fred Harvey Company and early 20th century tourism on Native art and culture.
"The Tribe Called Wannabee: Playing Indian in Europe and America." Folklore (England) 99 (1988): 30–35; reprinted in in W. Fleming and J, Watts, eds. Visions of A People: Introduction to Native American Studies, and in Bruchac, ed. Contemporary Cherokee Prose Writing, 1995.
A much-cited and reprinted essay which details the culturally-expressive manifestations of “playing Indian” in American popular culture.
"The Tribe Called Wannabee: Playing Indian in Europe and America" (1988); reprinted in W. Fleming and J, Watts, eds. Visions of A People: Introduction to Native American Studies, 1994.
A much-cited and reprinted essay, used in Native studies curricula on the centrality of representations of Native Americans in American popular culture to American identity, particularly the phenomenon of "playing Indian."
Corn Is Who We Are: Pueblo Indian Food. Co-Director (scripting, casting, artistic direction, edit) for film. 20 minute documentary short film. Produced by Alturas Films and Smithsonian Telecommunications. Winner, Silver Apple, National Educational Film Festival, 1994; English Spanish language versions.
A film that explores the centrality of corn to Pueblo culture, history and health and the death and rebirth of corn agriculture in Pueblo country.
“Culture and Gender in Indian America." In Patricia Hill Collins and Margaret Anderson, eds. Race, Culture and Gender: An Anthology. Belmont, Ca., Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1994.
Article on Native women’s persistent and changing roles in Native cultures.
"Repatriating Images: Indians and Photography." Rendezvous 28. Nos. 1 and 2 (Spring/Fall, 1993). (Appeared, July, 1994): 151–158.
An article that explores the movement among contemporary Native photographers to comment on and redeem Native identities from the misrepresentations in photography of the past.
"Grass Don't Grow On a Racetrack and Other Paradigms for Folklore and Feminism." Introduction to Jane Young et al, eds. Folklife and Feminist Theory, University of Illinois Press, 1993 (appeared, January, 1994).
An attempt to characterize the central themes and issues of feminist theory produced by folklore scholars.
"Mythologizing Pocahontas." In Carol E. Robertson. Musical Repercussions of 1492: Encounters in Text and Performance. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992.
An examination of the representations and images—in American music—of Native American women.
"Red Earth People and Southeastern Basketry," in Linda Mowat, ed. Basketmakers: Meaning and Form in Native American Baskets. Oxford, England: Pitt Rivers Museum, 1992.
A look at the history and contemporary manifestations of basketry from Native Southeastern people.
"The Mickey Mouse Kachina." American Art 1, no. 1 (1992).
An examination of an object from the collections of the National Museum of American Art, which suggests the possibilities for culture change and for humor and resistance in cntemporary Native/Hopi material culture.
We Are Here: 500 Years of Pueblo Resistance. Scriptwriter, artistic direction, casting for film. 14 minute documentary short film. Produced by Smithsonian Telecommunications, in association with the exhibition, American Encounters, National Museum of American History. Winner, Cine Golden Eagle, 1992.
A film which examines the Pueblo struggle to retain their land and their sovereignty in the face of invasion and domination attempts by Europeans and Americans.
"Rosebuds of the Plateau: Frank Matsura and the Fainting Couch Aesthetic," in Lucy Lippard, ed. Partial Recall: Photographs of Native North Americans. New York: New Press, 1992; reprinted in Dark Night, 2000.
A piece of creative nonfiction that comments on historical photography of Indians and reimagines the history of the two Northwest Coast women in a turn-of-the-century photograph by Frank Matsura, a Japanese photographer in Washington State.
Women in American Indian Society, Chelsea House Publishers, New York, 1991.
Used as a textbook in many colleges; an introduction to the histories and cultures of Native women in North America. Illustrated with art, photography and material culture.
"Native American Food," in Kirlin, eds. Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991.
On Native foodways from all major cultural regions (Plains, Northwest Coast, Southeast, Northeast, Southwest) and on the death and rebirth of Native agriculture, subsistence, and food production. With recipes.
"On Looking in the Mirror of An Institution," Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy Newsletter; reprinted in Northeast Indian Quarterly, Summer, 1990; The Graduate Quill, SUNY/Buffalo, April, 1991.
An article, taken from a keynote address at the opening of an exhibition on Indian education at Hampton Institute, which suggests the lessons learned for the present from an examination of a particular moment in the historical past.
"American Indian Women: Diverse Leadership for Social Change" in Albrecht and Brewer, eds. Bridges of Power: Women's Multicultural Alliances. Santa Cruz, Calif.: New Society Publishers, 1990; re-edited from “Culture and Gender in Indian America,” Sojourner: The Women's Forum 15 (September, 1989).
An essay which sets out some of the historical and cultural perameters of Native gender roles, cultural change, and political power in Native America.
"American Indian Art in Oklahoma" Oklahoma Today Special Issue on American Indian Art, (December, 1990).