I’ve put together a list of interesting museums featuring Native American content located in the Northeast. There are a few that would be a bit of a drive, but well worth the journey if you’re willing to make the trip. Also, the museum website is an excellent resource to learn more about a particular tribe’s history without leaving your home. Museums in particular are an excellent tool for creating interest among children at a young age.
1. Abbe Museum
Located at 26 Mt Desert St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609; the Abbe museum opens its doors for the summer season beginning May 1. It covers the rich histories of the Maliseet, Micmac, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy, known together as the Wabanaki: “People of the Dawnland.” For more information on the Wabanaki click here. The Abbe is quite a trek at roughly 6 hours from New Haven; however it is located in beautiful downtown Bar Harbor. With many places to stay in the area it should be top of the list for any summer weekend trip.
2. Iroquois Indian Museum
Located at 324 Caverns Road, Howes Cave, NY 12092; The Iroquois Indian Museum is an education institute that promotes Iroquois culture through art. There is an expansive area for children with interactive exhibits to promote learning, as well as a beautiful nature trail. The Iroquois Indian Museum is a great visit for families with many activities to enjoy. Only 2.5 hours from New Haven the Iroquois Indian Museum is well worth the drive. For more information of the different collections currently housed at the museum click here.
3. Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum
Located at 18 Highlawn Road in Warner, NH; The Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum is dedicated to connecting people today with thousands of years of Native American cultural history. The museum offers multiple guided experiences and has numerous family activities designed for all ages. The museum is located 3 hours from New Haven, and its vast array of educational opportunities make it well worth the drive. For more information on the different activities and guided tours offered at Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum click here
4. National Museum of the American Indian.
Located in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House One Bowling Green New York, NY; The National Museum of the American Indian has many different exciting permanent and temporary exhibits. It also hosts many public programs including musical performances, dance performances, and films. Only a 1.5 hour drive from New Haven, this museum provides an interesting combination of interactive exhibits with many designed with families in mind. For more information on the current exhibits displayed at the National Museum of the American Indian click here.
5. The Institute for American Indian Studies Museum & Research Center
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the IAIS, an active museum and research center in northeastern Connecticut in the town of Washington. Situated on 15 wooded acres with trails, garden areas, and a replicated 17th century Algonkian Village, the museum is the prefect place for a picnic and a walk in the woods. For directions and more information on the Center’s events and programs, click here.
6. Tantaquidgeon Museum
Built in 1930 by Mohegans John and Harold Tantaquidgeon and opened to the public the following year, The Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum is the oldest tribal-run museum in the country. Its collection includes tribal baskets, beadwork, dolls, and photographs and is the home to many other historical Mohegan treasures. For directions and a map to the museum, which is located on the Mohegan reservation in Uncasville, Connecticut, click here.
7. Tomaquag Museum
Tomaquag is an Indigenous museum with a mission to educate the public and promote thoughtful dialogue regarding Indigenous history, culture, arts, and Mother Earth and connect to Native issues of today. Located in Arcadia Village in Rhode Island, it is that state’s only museum entirely dedicated to telling the story of the area’s Indigenous Peoples. For directions and a list of their upcoming events, click here.
— Kyle Armstrong