Spring 2017

Confessions of an Eco-Tourist

I arrived on a tight schedule in Banos, a town on the eastern side of the Ecuadorean Andes where the mountains descend into the Amazon basin. Banos is one of the gateways to the Amazon and a popular departure point for tourists heading into the jungle. My goal of an in-depth excursion into the Amazon, which required three or four days, would elude me because my flight departing Quito didn’t leave me with suffi cient time. My only option appeared to be a set daytrip along the edge of the jungle.

100 Years and Counting: Much to Celebrate and Much to Do In the Years to Come

The National Museum of the American Indian is wrapping up its celebration of the 100th anniversary year of the establishment of our predecessor institution, the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation (MAI). MAI’s founding on May 10, 1916, paved the way for the opening of the museum in upper Manhattan in 1922 and eventually the establishment of the NMAI as part of the Smithsonian Institution in 1989. This milestone anniversary gave us various opportunities for celebrating the provenance of our collections and its continued study and expansion. Who would have imagined in the early 1900s that NMAI – with its museums on the National Mall and in Lower Manhattan and the Cultural Resources Center collections facility in Suitland, Md. – would have become such an internationally prominent institution? There are so many stories to tell about amazing and remarkable personalities, and struggles and triumphs along the way, and this past year we proudly honored our truly unique history.

Spring 2017

Museum-sponsored digs unearthed some of the early treasures of George Gustav Heyes’s Museum of the American Indian (MAI), the predecessor of our collection. This seat from the Manteno culture of Ecuador, circa A.D. 500 to 1500, was excavated by Marshall H. Saville between 1906 and 1908, with the support of the Heye Foundation. Although no one is certain, it might have been used by spiritual leaders for astronomy, weather predictions or public ceremonies for agriculture.