Media Kits

Americans

November 1, 2017

American Indian images, names, and stories infuse American history and contemporary life. Pervasive, powerful, at times demeaning, the images, names, and stories reveal how Indians have been embedded in unexpected ways in the history, pop culture, and identity of the United States.

Americans, opening Jan. 18, 2018 at the National Museum of the American Indian, highlights the ways in which American Indians have been part of the nation’s identity since before the country began

Amerians logo
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Americans: 1948 Indian Chief

Yellow Indian motorcycle

Matailong Du

Considered the most stylish of mass-produced motorcycle models, this 1948 Indian Chief is now on view in the museum’s Potomac Atrium. It will take up long-term residence on the Third Level when Americans opens this fall.

Americans: Battle of Little Bighorn

Gallery exhibits

Paul Morigi/AP Images for National Museum of the American Indian

Plains Indian objects on display in the Battle of Little Bighorn gallery of the "Americans" exhibition at Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The exhibition will be open to the public on January 18, 2018.

(Paul Morigi/AP Images for National Museum of the American Indian)

Americans: Central Gallery

Main exhibition hall

Paul Morigi/AP Images for National Museum of the American Indian

The central gallery of the "Americans" exhibition includes nearly 350 representations of American Indians in pop culture at Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The exhibition will be open to the public on January 18, 2018.

(Paul Morigi/AP Images for National Museum of the American Indian)

Americans: Hanker Chiefs

Box of handkerchiefs featuring Indian logo

Gift of Lawrence Baca, 2015. Courtesy National Museum of the American Indian

Get it? Some people thought this was hilarious. Hanker Chiefs box, ca. 1982. Gift of Lawrence Baca, 2015.

Courtesy National Museum of the American Indian

Americans: Hi Yu Apples

Advertising label featuring stylized Indian chief

Original label part of a private collection. Courtesy National Museum of the American Indian.

Before they were replaced by cardboard boxes in the 1960s, wooden boxes bearing colorful designs were used to ship fruit and vegetables. Often the labels featured Native American motifs. Hi Yu was the name of a brand of apples shipped from Wenatchee, Washington. The Chinook language words mean abundance. Hi Yu Apples crate label, 1940s. Original label part of a private collection.

Americans: Narragansett beer ad by Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

Cartoon style ad with Indian chief holding serving tray with beer

Property of Narragansett Beer. Photo By Carly Brunault

Theodor Geisel, who would later be known as Dr. Seuss, created the cartoon character Chief Gansett in the 1940s for the Narragansett Brewing Company. The character was used in an advertising campaign, but it never appeared on a beer bottle. Chief Gansett beer tray, 1940s. Property of Narragansett Beer. Photo By Carly Brunault.

Americans: New Mexico travel poster

Travel poster showing woman buying goods from Native man wrapped in blanket

New Mexico and Arizona travel poster, ca. 1925. Courtesy National Museum of the American Indian

This poster was created to promote the Union Pacific Railroad and to encourage vacationers to explore the "history and mystery" of the Southwest, especially "authentic" Native American trade goods. New Mexico and Arizona travel poster, ca. 1925.

Courtesy National Museum of the American Indian

Americans: Savage Arms

Gun advertisement featuring drawing of Indian in eagle headdress

Savage Arms catalog, 1979. Courtesy National Museum of the American Indian.

According to Savage Arms company history, its logo was the result of a deal in 1919. An Indian chief named Lame Deer negotiated a discount for rifles. In return he offered his tribe’s endorsement and an Indian-head logo. Savage Arms catalog, 1979.

Courtesy National Museum of the American Indian

Americans: Savage Bullets

Box of Savage brand ammunition

National Museum of the American Indian

Things aren’t always what they seem. Savage Arms, whose guns are widely used in police departments, is named after its founder, Arthur Savage. Savage Arms bullet box, ca. 1950.

National Museum of the American Indian

Americans: Squaw Peas

Advertising label featuring Native American woman

Original label part of a private collection. Courtesy National Museum of the American Indian

This Squaw Brand canned peas label features a woman and her infant. Native American women are commonly featured in advertising as the gatherers of food. The Centerville Canning Company was using this dated imagery to convey “fresh.” Squaw Brand Choice Sifted Peas label, 1920s. Original label part of a private collection.

Courtesy National Museum of the American Indian


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