Visit us for a self-guided tour during regular business hours or call ahead for a guided tour. Enjoyable and educational for kids and adults alike, our exhibits present Mohawk culture from the perspective of the Mohawk people of Akwesasne.
The collection of the Akwesasne Museum includes over 2,000 photographic objects and over 700 ethnographic objects of various kinds, related to the Mohawk community of Akwesasne.
One of our current projects is an exhibit development program with youth, on the topic of lacrosse, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The youth have chosen to focus on the spiritual side of lacrosse and its origins in the Sky-World. Niawenko:wa to John Thomas for the donation of a lacrosse print, (see image above). Thanks also go to Kerry Mitchell for career highlights of her husband, Ernie; Carl Cook for the bulletin featuring his dad, Bob Cook; and Paul Angus for the Sports Illustrated article! Our program coordinator will also be researching lacrosse in the ‘Researching Tribal Heritage Fellowship’ program of the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums to supplement the exhibit.
One of the priorities of the museum continues to be the traditional arts program. Classes for the Akwesasne Mohawk community help to keep traditional arts skills alive and well. For the past two years, the museum has conducted a community-wide survey to ascertain the top needs and desires that Akwesasronon have regarding class topics, skill range, fees, and scheduling. Nia:wen to all who filled in their surveys for the 2010 classes. Our top ten priorities this year are: work baskets, fancy baskets, cornhusk dolls, feather fans, raised beadwork techniques, moccasins, beaded crowns, beaded yokes, beaded skirts, and cradleboards. Stay tuned to CKON and read Indian Time newspaper to hear the class announcements. These classes are made possible with funding from the New York State Council on the Arts.
A significant photography project funded by the National Park Service addressed many of the needs of our largest collection. Our photo collection ranges from glass plate negatives produced in the early 1900’s to reproductions of recent images from the year 2000 and up. A major phase of our climate control goals was completed as part of this project. We implemented climate controls to keep the temperature at 65 degrees in the museum, with only a two degree variance year-round to ensure the protection of our collection.
Over 300 of our ethnographic objects are baskets, making it our second largest discreet category within the overall collection. Black ash splint and sweetgrass basketry is one of the defining features of Akwesasne Mohawk identity. There is no known date for the first use of splint basketry by Mohawk people, but splint fragments have been found in the Northeast United States that date to 3,000 years ago. Akwesasne has the greatest number of basketmakers in any one community among the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. Basketmaking has remained an unbroken tradition over time, and is one of our strongest ties to the land, as materials are harvested from forests and fields.
“We Are From Akwesasne” is an exhibit that was produced through Institute of Museum and Library Services funding. Youth from Akwesasne were the co-curators of the exhibit – working with consultants, designers, and museum staff in the creation of a traveling exhibit that illuminates the continuing culture and artistic heritage of Akwesasne. It is an extensive exhibit that includes interactive elements, free-standing panels with text and photographs, pedestals with traditional arts objects, and more. It was rented by the Seaway Trail Discovery Center for the spring/summer of 2006, Parks Canada in Mallorytown Ontario for the summer 2008, and Salmon River Central School in the Fall of 2008. Other interested venues can contact us at:
321 State Rte 37
Hogansburg, NY 13655