I did enjoy this museum. They have many wonderful artifacts to show you what Native American life was like. Many clothing items over 100 years old. A few poignant stories, like the story of Ishi, a Yaha Indian, possibly the last of his tribe, who chose to live in a human zoo rather than return to civilization or the wilderness. Beautiful artwork.
I give it four stars because first of all, should we have these artifacts? I appreciate them, but were these acquired appropriately and are the respective tribes ok with them being in the Smithsonian? I would appreciate transparency on this. Also, while it touches on it at some parts of colonialism, overall it glosses over the crimes committed against Native Americans. And tells nothing (that I could find) about boarding schools, reservations, and how they still fight oppression today.
There are also some artifacts and exhibits on Central American/South American Indians like the Mayans. Some beautiful carved wooden figures. Since this branch is in New York, there is a section on native Americans in New York.
There is also an exhibit on Native American Art, which I enjoyed. It had a lot of contemporary and pop art pieces that really changed my perception of Native Americans. I always picture them as so solemn and proud. Some of these pieces were colorful and silly, and I loved that.
Architecture is gorgeous. Admission is free, so through its really only one floor, it’s worth a stop if you’re in the area.