Eiteljorg Museum: ‘Telling America’s Story’

Dedicated to preserving the foundation of the American West, the Eiteljorg Museum is home to some of the most famous paintings in Native American art.

The many sculptures, paintings and artifacts here expose to  the present day art-goer the natural history of the North American landscape.

The importance of preserving the past of the American West can be felt within the buildings three main collections: Art of the American West—a collection created from a modern art perspective by 20th century artists; the Native American Collection—a show of art and artifacts from almost every tribal group in North America; and the Gund Collection—a display of paintings of North American horses.

The Gund Collection is the newest addition to the museum, donated in 2002.

Along with the permanent museum collections social exhibitions are also held throughout the year.

Currently, the museum is showing “Quest for the West,” an exhibit featuring 50 of the best artists from all across the country, showing off their creativity and historical Native American perspective through landscapes, wildlife, portrait, still life and narrative paintings.

The exhibition will continue through Oct. 10.

Within this exhibit, the winner of the Artist of Distinction award, Robert Griffing, will display a wider variety of his works from the past 20 years in “Only a Matter of Time: The Paintings of Robert Griffing”.

Griffing’s hope is that this “attempt to accurately portray these people will create an awareness of a much neglected part of our heritage,” according to eiteljorg.org.

The Eiteljorg invites local community members to participate in many programs and events outside of the museum.

In the summer the annual Indian Market and Festival is held in the White River State Park area.

Guests are invited to celebrate the history of North America in a two-day celebration with native food, singing, dancing and musicians.

Every Saturday throughout the fall, viewers are invited to walk to the beat of their own drum, during a Native American community drumming circle lead by a powwow drummer.

Butler University also finds itself a purveyor of Native American culture one Saturday each month when Native American dancing is held at Clowes Memorial Hall.

Performances are taught by native dancers who invite students, museum visitors and the local Butler community to attend. The museum also sponsors other events that can be found on Eiteljorg’s web site, eiteljorg.org.

The Eiteljorg hopes to “tell America’s story”; a wish that has been accomplished through their rich displays of Native American art. If your vision on North American history comes from the black and white photos in a textbook, the Eiteljorg is sure to give you a new perspective.

The Eiteljorg museum is located downtown on West Washington Street in the White River State Park. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday’s. Admission for adults and students is $8.


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