Eiteljorg Musuem Blog

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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