Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • All that Glitters | New exhibit tells true stories behind America's Gold Rushes

    by DeShong Perry-Smitherman, Eiteljorg public relations manager | Feb 02, 2015
    Eiteljorg gold hair comb cup ring nuggets
    Gold hair comb, cup, ring, and nuggets

    Loan: Courtesy of Greg and Petra Martin
    Photography by Hadley Fruits

    What could tempt a doctor and his wife to leave their children and risk their lives? Persuade financiers to gamble on risky exploits?  Redraw the face of the American landscape? The insatiable pursuit for unimaginable wealth… the lure of quick money… gold. On Mar. 7, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art will open Gold! Riches and Ruin, a new exhibit that explores a valuable mineral – and all the glitter and greed attached to the desire to get it. 

    “Our guests will see gold in all its forms – gold bars, gold jewelry and gold nuggets,” says John Vanausdall, Eiteljorg president and CEO. “But they will also witness some of the most compelling stories ever told related to the hunt for gold.”

    Gold! Riches and Ruin will demonstrate how the hunt for gold in the West changed the demography of an entire region, and had a profound impact on Native American populations. Gold rushes lured men and women from all walks of life, from all around the world, to places like California, the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Canadian Yukon and Alaska in pursuit of wealth and adventure. 
    Eiteljorg gold spanish flat
    Spanish Flat, ca. 1852
    Photographer: Joseph B. Starkweather
    Image courtesy of the California State Library, California History Room

    Johanna gold curator
    According to Johanna Blume (pictured left), exhibit curator, visitors to the museum will get to “meet” a host of  fortune seekers. Blume says stories in the exhibit illustrate the “perseverance and adventure” involved in striking it rich, but also the “ravenousness, violence, sacrifice and failure.”

    “The show celebrates the stories of those who struck it rich, but recognizes the unlucky ones who lost everything in their quest for riches.”

    Captivating accounts from gold rush experiences, spanning the 1840s to the 1910s, told through art and artifacts will come alive through comprehensive programs, interactive media and hands-on S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering and Math) activities. The exhibit will also explore the broader appeal of gold up to the present day. Guests will see and experience:

    - Gold nuggets, coins, bars, jewelry and more
    - Gold mining equipment and tools
    - Paintings, journals and diaries, clothing and personal effects that belonged to prospective gold miners
    - Bars of gold salvaged from the shipwreck of the SS Central America, a steamship that sank off the Carolina coast in 1857 loaded with thousands of pounds of gold from the California gold fields
    - Science-focused activities which will lead students to think about how gold is sought, the technology used to extract it and the impact mining has on the environment.
    - An outdoor gold panning experience which will allow visitors to pan for “gold” and then use that gold to “purchase” an item in the Frank and Katrina Basile Museum Store.

    Gold! Riches and Ruin will be celebrated with an opening night party and exhibit preview, at 6 p.m., Friday, Mar. 6. Tickets range from $40 - $55. At the event guests will actually be able to search the museum for “gold.” The guest who finds the most will win gold jewelry! Gold! closes Aug. 9.
    Presenting sponsors of Gold! are Wells Fargo and Eli Lilly and Company Foundation with sponsorship support from Capital Group Companies and Barnes & Thornburg LLP.

     Gold sponsors

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  • Welcome Kenaja Reaves | Our IPS Intern

    by Kenaja Reaves, Eiteljorg communications and marketing intern | Jan 30, 2015

    Kenaja in new art - Eva Lake print
    I love the way the colors come together in this Eva Lake print called Sky Over Casino. This is my favorite piece in the museum.
    Sky Over Casino,
    Lithograph, edition 4/14
    30x30 inches

    My first week at the Eiteljorg as a high school intern in the communications and  marketing department was amazing! My first day was fun and very welcoming.  I was excited when I found out I was getting my own little office space. When I first walked inside the cubicle there was a big sign that read “Welcome Kenaja Reaves!” 

    Kenaja with rabbit fur
    Examining rabbit fur.
    Kenaja with sunglasses

    I also got to meet all the employees and got a chance to hear what they do. The best part of my meet and greet time was getting the chance to meet the President and CEO of the Eiteljorg, Mr. John Vanausdall. Later the marketing team treated me to a better-than-delicious “Quesadilla of the Day” at the Museum Café. Seriously, that lunch made may tastebuds say, “Ooooh!”

    During my first week I began entering over 11,000 zip codes into an Excel spreadsheet. My work will help show the Eiteljorg where a lot of the museum visitors come from. I'm also learning about blogging, what PR and marketing people do and how a museum uses social media platforms to tell its story.

    Kenaja in JR
    A few days before Jingle Rails closed I got to take a picture with a local celebrity. Tracy Forner, from “Indy Style” stopped by to tour the exhibit.  

    I also got the chance to explore the museum. My first stop was Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure of course! This was the best part. The Jingle Rails display was beautiful and gave me a lot to look at. In fact, everything in Jingle Rails was made out of natural materials like sticks, leaves and dried fruit - which made it even more fascinating. I also enjoyed watching others look at this imaginative display as well. I look forward to working with everyone here at the Eiteljorg so that I can have the greatest experience possible.  

    Can't wait to see the Gold! exhibit when it opens!


  • Now that's Service | This Volunteer Gave 342 Hours in Two Months

    by Deborah Kish, Volunteer Services Manager | Jan 29, 2015
    At the Eiteljorg, we love the men and women who call this place their home away from home. They give of their time, talents and intellect to make the museum a wonderful place for visitors. This week, our awesome volunteer Tom Bromstrup, was recognized for dedicating more than 300 hours of service to the museum in just two months! 

    Eiteljorg president and CEO John Vanausdall, along with board chair Tom Hoback, presented Bromstrup with a hardbound book that celebrates the 25-year history of the museum. In all, Bromstrup contributed over 342 hours of service between Nov. 18, 2014 through Jan. 21, 2015.  He only missed FIVE days during the entire run of our Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure exhibit. If you visited Jingle Rails, you probably spotted him - the guy we could rely on to keep those trains running!
    Tom volunteered 60 hours more than our top volunteer contributed the entire year during 2013. Please join us in thanking Tom for his hard work, dedication, and invaluable service to the Eiteljorg!
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  • Eiteljorg Hires New Curator of Native American Art, History and Culture

    by Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art | Jan 26, 2015

    Scott Shoemaker
    Scott Shoemaker standing in front of images and information
    about some of his ancestors profiled in the Eiteljorg Museum.

    The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art announced today that Scott
    Shoemaker, Ph.D., has joined the staff as Thomas G. and Susan C. Hoback Curator of Native American Art, History and Culture. In his position, Shoemaker will develop the Eiteljorg’s collections, relationships with collectors and donors, and will lead development of exhibitions and publications related to the indigenous peoples of North America. He will also work closely with the Eiteljorg’s Native American Advisory Council and institutional partners, including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. According to James Nottage, vice president and chief curatorial officer, Shoemaker will “do much to shape the second 25 years of the museum’s history.”

    Scott Shoemaker and James Nottage
    Scott Shoemaker and James Nottage discuss Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian objects on exhibit in the museum.

    Shoemaker earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Ball State, a Master of Arts in landscape architecture at the University of Minnesota, and a doctorate in American studies, also from Minnesota. His focus has been on American Indian studies and museum studies. He has taught at the University of Minnesota, Macalester College in St. Paul, and has served on the curatorial staff in ethnology at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

    A member of the Miami Nation of Indiana, Shoemaker is a leading figure in the study and recovery of the Miami language and preservation of the traditional art of Miami ribbon work. He lectures frequently at scholarly meetings and cultural gatherings and serves on boardsfor the Myaamia Foundation, Miami Nation of Indians of Indiana, and as director for the Historic and Cultural Preservation Office of the Miami Nation of Indiana. With this expertise, Shoemaker will lead the Eiteljorg in becoming a center for the understanding of Native peoples of the larger Indiana and Great Lakes regions. 

    “Scott is a brilliant scholar,” says John Vanausdall, Eiteljorg president and CEO. “The fact that he is a Miami Indian whose culture and family occupied this region before the rest of us is especially gratifying.  Further, Scott has been an invaluable cultural advisor to the museum for nearly two decades.  We could not have designed a better match.”

    Shoemaker has worked with the museum in the past as a member of the Native American Advisory Council and as a consultant in the production of Mihtohseenionki (The People’s Place), the gallery that focuses on the Miami and other tribes important to the history of the Indiana region.

    “Working for the Eiteljorg is a homecoming in many ways,” says Shoemaker. “Early on, I - and the Miami people - were made to feel at home here, getting to know the staff and witnessing programs and exhibits over the years. I like being a part of it.

    “My goal is to contribute to the wonderful success of the museum, to build upon a solid foundation and expand into areas that we haven’t been able to address. I look forward to focusing on local and regional history and cultures and being able to connect with the broader stories of Native America.”

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  • New Art 2.0 | Truman Lowe

    by Jennifer Complo McNutt, curator of contemporary art and Ashley Holland, assistant curator of contemporary art | Jan 26, 2015

    New Art 2.0 is an exhibition of prints, many created by Eiteljorg Fellows and contemporary Native and non Native artists. It is a blend of “op art,” landscape, political and environmental statements as well as portraiture. Approximately 90 limited edition prints will be on exhibit and available for sale with prices ranging between about $500 - $4000.  New Art 2.0 closes Feb. 8, 2015.

    Truman Lowe
    Wána nápt, 2002
    Lithograph, edition 2/12
    30 x 22 ½ inches

    I like to make sawdust. - Truman Lowe

    Truman Lowe is professor emeritus of art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. An acclaimed sculptor who has exhibited nationally and internationally, he served as curator of contemporary art for the opening of Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. His work reflects his Ho-Chunk ancestry and culture and often captures the beauty and force of moving water. Lowe was among the first group of contemporary Native artists awarded an Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art in 1999.
    New art sponsors

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