When visiting the museum you can explore the self-guided tour, or book in advance a guided tour during our regular business hours. Enjoyable and educational for kids and adults alike. Our many exhibits present our Mohawk culture from the perspective of the people of Akwesasne. The collection of the Akwesasne Museum includes various cultural material from photographs, art, baskets, wampum belts, cornhusk dolls and much more that are related to the Mohawk community of Akwesasne.
One of the priorities of the museum continues to be the traditional arts program. The program includes classes for our Akwesasne Mohawk community to help keep traditional skills and art skills alive. Examples of the traditional arts programing classes includes: baskets, fancy baskets, cornhusk dolls, feather fans, raised beadwork techniques, moccasins, beaded crowns, beaded yokes, beaded skirts, and cradleboards. These classes are made possible with funding from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and other grants. These grants help fund project activities for institutional, collection, and interpretive purposes
Black ash splint and sweetgrass basketry is one of the defining features of Akwesasne Mohawk identity. We have a large category of baskets within the overall collection 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 basket makers in any one community among the Haudenosaunee 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 one of our exhibits 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 this past traveling exhibit that illuminates the continuing culture and artistic heritage of Akwesasne. It was featured at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, NY in the summer of 2018.
Another exhibit to mention is the Wolf Belt room. Which holds 14 wampum belts including the Wolf belt. On Friday September 17, 2010 we held a commemoration day for the return of the Wolf Belt to Akwesasne. The Wolf belt made its way through Cornwall Island, across the river in a canoe to its permanent home the Akwesasne Cultural Center! The over two-hundred-year-old belt was created in the spirit of Friendship, Protection, and Understanding.
The museum was founded to bring awareness and show pride in our Native identity as Akwesasne Mohawks. Although we still to this day feel the effects of residential schools and other historical trauma. Our facilitated board, staff discussions, community dialogue and surveys will help us to re-think our organizational structure and to re-design our use of space to better serve our community’s cultural needs, voice, and awareness!