I wanted to take my granddaughters to the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, but they seemed disinterested. “They’re having a fashion show of Indian clothes,” I told them.
This got their attention and they were ready to leave within minutes. I was simply following an old social work adage to meet people where they’re at. Right now, alas, that is where they are.
The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian www.mitchellmuseum.org is located at 3001 Central Avenue in Evanston, Illinois. This small museum has many native artifacts and artwork. Although the building is small, there is usually something new to see there because they change their exhibits often. There are also usually some exhibits that invite interaction making it a good place to take children. If you check their website, you can see their schedule of interactive art projects. The exhibit on Indian fashion opened in January and will be there through May.
We enjoyed popping in and out of the tepee that is there permanently. I have to say that it’s much easier for a five year old or seven year old to do that than it was for me.
The exhibits of outfits, beadwork, and other jewelry were impressive and we enjoyed looking at them as well.
At the end of the exhibit, there is a place for would-be fashion designers to fashion their own designs and display them. Near that is a sign discussing assimilation and separation as it applies to fashion.
It would have been interesting to discuss that with my three granddaughters who dress in Orthodox Jewish fashion. I’d love an opportunity to arrange a meeting of Native Americans and Orthodox Jews to discuss the issue. Maybe someday we’ll get that opportunity. In the meantime, I’m glad that I had a chance to see the exhibit with my granddaughters. If you have an hour, I suggest that you visit there, too.