Digital Exhibit

In Their Own Words: Native Americans in World War I

Joseph LaJeunesse. September 14, 1919, Camp Merritt, NJ. Joseph K. Dixon, photographer.

I am proud that I was the first to enlist and spend more days in trenches than the rest of boys from this Reservation. I've had some close calls too. While going over on the Soissons drive July 18, 1918. a big Shell hit 'bout 2 ft to the right of me and exploded but didn't kill me. it killed two men on the right of me. I was just black with powder. That's all, and if you don't call that luck--- Machine gun bullets tore my breeches all up the same day too.

I think I'm the luckiest Grosventre.
-John W. Smith, South Dakota.

In Their Own Words: Native Americans in World War I an online exhibit organized by the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, tells the story of World War I through the words Native Americans veterans who fought in the "Great War." Thousands of Native Americans, many of whom did not have citizenship rights, volunteered to fight on behalf of the United States of America.

The online exhibit provides an unedited vision into the sentiments, viewpoints, and personal experiences of over 30 Native Americans using photos, letters, and survey responses. "Fight till we couldn't fight no more. We were all shot up. My company went in the battle with 253 men and came out with 66 men. Most of them was killed; some were wounded," wrote Lewis Sanderson, documenting the toll of the war.

Some of the letters also pay tribute to two of the fallen warriors, Elson M. James and Walter R. Sevalier. Sevalier received distinction from U.S. General Pershing as one of the one hundred most heroic soldiers who fought in the war.

The exhibit's materials come from the archives of the Wanamaker Collection, which consists of 8,000 photographic images and 7,750 documents created or compiled by Joseph K. Dixon. The documents include a questionnaire that Dixon sent to Native American veterans in 1919-1920. The Wanamaker Collection contains 2,700 completed questionnaires, and Dixon used this information to demonstrate the Native Americans' commitment to the US and their support of the war effort, regardless of their citizenship status. Dixon's efforts helped create support for the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, making all US Native Americans citizens whether they welcomed that status or not.




During normal hours of operation, the MMWC Exhibition Hall and Museum Store are open Tuesdays through Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays, from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Current Exhibitions

200 Years of Living and Thriving in the Hoosier State
From butter churns and spinning wheels to music and bibles, this exhibit explores the objects that Hoosiers throughout the past 200 years have needed not only to survive, but to thrive. The exhibit will be on display through May 7.

Beijing's 798 Art Zone After the turn of the 21st century, artists and cultural entrepreneurs began colonizing a former military factory complex in northeast Beijing. Taking its name from that numbered factory, the 798 Art Zone is an urban arts colony that now attracts visitors from around China and the world. Offering a glimpse of a compelling place that is both visually saturated and reflective of the state of contemporary arts and society in present-day China, Beijing's 798 Art Zone introduces the district and its ever-changing artistic landscape through photographs. The exhibit will temporarily close May 8 through August 14; but will re-open August 15, and be open through December 17.

Hózhó: Navajo Beauty, Navajo Weavings
This exhibit will introduce the famed wool rugs and blankets woven by the Navajo people of the Southwestern United States. Situating these textiles within regional history and Navajo culture, the exhibition will focus on the theme of beauty in Navajo cosmology as expressed in the artistry of these treasured weavings. Works presented will be drawn from several Mathers Museum of World Cultures collections, including that of Elinor and Vincent Ostrom. The exhibit was curated by Associate Professor of Folklore and Mathers Museum of World Cultures Director Jason Baird Jackson, The exhibit, sponsored by Themester 2016: Beauty, an initiative of the IU College of Arts and Sciences, will be on display through May 7.

Quilts of Southwest China
This groundbreaking international exhibition was organized by a bi-national consortium of Chinese and American museums, including the MMWC, that has worked together to document and research these textiles--art forms dating back over 3,000 years, but little known outside certain ethnic minority communities in China. Featuring 24 works expertly fashioned, patched, and appliquéd together to form artistic, yet functional textiles, the exhibition presents research and collecting that provides some of the first documentation of the making and use of these textiles. The exhibit is sponsored by The Henry Luce Foundation. Additional support comes from the IUB Arts and Humanities Council in conjunction with China Remixed: Arts and Humanities in Contemporary Chinese Culture. Project partners include Yunnan Nationalities Museum (Kunming, Yunnan, China); Guangxi Museum of Nationalities (Nanning, Guangxi, China); Guizhou Nationalities Museum (Guiyang, Guizhou, China); Michigan State University Museum (East Lansing, Michigan, USA); Museum of International Folk Art (Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA); the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln, Nebraska, USA); the American Folklore Society; and the Chinese Folklore Society. The exhibition will be on display through May 7.

Thoughts, Things, and Theories...What Is Culture?
Thoughts, Things, and Theories...What Is Culture? explores the nature of culture. The exhibit will temporarily close May 8 through August 14; but will re-open August 15, and be ongoing. Read more »

Tools of Travel
This exhibit features objects that people in different times and places have used to transport themselves and their belongings, exploring the technology of travel (wagon, saddle, sled, and canoe) and how it is powered (horse, camel, dog, and human). The exhibit will temporarily close May 8 through August 14; but will re-open August 15, and be open through December 17.

Upcoming Exhibitions

A Different Look at Syria (Opening September 15, 2017)
A Different Look at Syria will present a view into the cultural richness and distinctiveness of the country, counter to the impression given in news images from devastated, present-day Syria. The exhibition features beautiful items of Syrian clothing and jewelry from the Dee Birnbaum Textile and Jewelry Collection, and will offer visitors a chance to connect or reconnect with Syria's culture and deeper history.

Traveling Exhibitions

Rotating Exhibits Network
The Rotating Exhibit Network (REN) is a special program developed and coordinated by Traditional Arts Indiana at the Mathers Museum that provides free exhibit resources for libraries, historical societies, museums, galleries, Convention and Visitor Bureaus, and other public venues throughout Indiana. Each exhibit, a free-standing panel, features engaging photographs and texts that introduces traditional arts and artists from around the state. All of these banner exhibits are free and open to the public.

Scheduled Venues--April 1 to June 30, 2017
Attica Public Library, Attica, IN---Greg Adams (Willow Furniture Maker)
Batesville Memorial Library, Batesville, IN---Marie Webster (Quilter and Pattern Maker)
Bedford Public Library, Bedford, IN---John Bundy (Duck Decoy Carver)
Brown County Public Library, Nashville, IN---Portia Sperry (Abigail Doll Inventor)
Brownstown Public Library, Brownstown, IN---Portia Sperry (Abigail Doll Inventor)
Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library, Evansville, IN---Greg Adams (Willow Furniture Maker)
Franklin County Public Library, Brookville, IN---Bob Taylor (Wood Carver)
Franklin County Public Library/Laurel, IN---Katrina Mitten (Bead Artist)
Greensburg Public Library, Greensburg, IN---Portia Sperry (Abigail Doll Inventor)
Hebron Public Library, Hebron, IN---Chinami Ricketts (Indigo)
Huntington City Public Library, Huntington City, IN---Bruce Hovis (Basket Maker)
Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library, Zionsville, IN---Bruce Hovis (Basket Maker)
Jasper-Dubois County Public Library, Dubois, IN---Bill Day, Keith Ruble, and Glen Summers (Bowl Hewing)
Jefferson Township Public Library, Jeffersonville, IN---Tom Wintezak (Potter)
Kouts Public Library---Kouts, IN---Tom Wintezak (Potter)
Lawrenceburg Public Library District, Lawrenceburg, IN---Chinami Ricketts (Indigo)
Middletown Fall Creek Library, Middletown, IN---John Bundy (Duck Decoy Carver)
Mitchell Community Public Library, Mitchell, IN---Marie Webster (Quilter and Pattern Maker)
Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library, Plainfield, IN---Marie Webster (Quilter and Pattern Maker)
Portage Public Library, Portage, IN---Katrina Mitten (Bead Artist)
Salem Public Library, Salem, IN---Bruce Hovis (Basket Maker)
South Haven Public Library, South Haven, IN---Bob Taylor (Wood Carver)
St. Joseph County Public Library, Franklin, IN---Chinami Ricketts (Indigo)
Sullivan County Public Library, Sullivan, IN---Bill Day, Keith Ruble, Glen Summers (Bowl Hewing)
Tell City-Perry County Public Library, Tell City, IN---Bill Day, Keith Ruble, and Glen Summers (Bowl Hewing)
University Library of Columbus, Columbus, IN---Greg Adams (Willow Furniture Maker)
Valparaiso Public Library, Valparaiso, IN---John Bundy (Duck Decoy Carver)
Warsaw Community Public Library, Warsaw, IN---Tom Wintezak (Potter)
West Lafayette Public Library, West Lafayette, IN---Bob Taylor (Wood Carver)
Winchester Community Library, Winchester, IN---Katrina Mitten (Bead Artist)