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The Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, 110 Pequot Trail, Mashantucket, Connecticut, is without doubt the world's largest and most comprehensive Native American museum and research center in existence today. In an independent survey, nine out of ten visitors rated the museum "Better than the best museum they had visited in the past 5 years." Of it, several highly reputable media outlets say: "Sets a new standard for user-operated media" - The Boston Globe; "An Immediate hit with families" - New York Magazine; and, "Magnificent, [it] brings the Native American story vividly to life" - Connecticut Magazine.

Perspective | Exhibits | Programs & Events | Contact Info |

Perspective

This museum has collected, cataloged and meticulously chronicled a bygone culture, giving new life to a tribe that struggled hard against extinction. In fact, it offers more resources and learning opportunities vis-a-vis Native Americans than does even the Smithsonian. It and its Website provide a mother lode of information, not just about the Pequot Tribe, but all Native American cultures as is evidenced by the following: "Our ancestors can no longer speak for themselves. It is up to us to speak for them. If they could speak today, they would say, 'Look at this museum. They have not forgotten us. We have survived.'" - Wilma Mankiller, former principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

There are also in-depth descriptions of how all of the Native nations and tribes interpret creation, for instance, that offer fascinating insights into how their cultures evolved.

Many of the exhibits are life size dioramas that provide robust and rich representations of how the Pequots lived over time and under very difficult and challenging conditions, especially when ice covered much of the continent. They amply demonstrate the extraordinary adaptive genius of a people whose knowledge and wits not only helped them survive adversity but thrive through it.

In all, there are four full acres of permanent, extravagantly detailed exhibits and two libraries, one for children, that offer a remarkable selection of materials detailing the histories of all Native peoples in both the U.S. and Canada.

Pequot Tribe
From the Life in a Cold Climate Exhibit. Copyright © The Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
The museum generously documents every detail of the origins, fall and rise of the Pequots, who have, since the 1960s, reclaimed some of their land on which they have cleverly built Foxwoods Casino and Resort, a success story worthy of the utmost admiration.

In addition, natural history is engagingly traced over thousands of years to provide a holistic understanding of the Native American experience.

There are also ample opportunities for learning through interactive experiences, including your family's participation in local archeological digs or making bags from buckskin, among many others.

Since gaining hard-won federal recognition, the Pequot Tribe is beginning to flourish again. From the Website come details of how the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation is governed today: "[The Nation] is governed by a seven-member tribal council, led by a Council Chairman, and an Elders Council, consisting of all tribal members 55 years or older and representing all families of the tribe. The chairman and all council members are elected, at a general tribal meeting, for three year terms. Registered tribal members eighteen years of age or older are eligible to vote.

"The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council: The decision-making powers of tribal government are divided between the Tribal Council and the Elders Council. Generally speaking, the Tribal Council makes the laws governing the tribe and its properties, manages its natural resources, and maintains relationships with local, state, and federal governments as well as with other tribal nations. The Elders Council, in addition to providing advice and recommendations to the Tribal Council and membership, determines questions of membership and has the power to deny any person, including a tribal member, access to tribal properties. The Elders Council also hears matters referred to it by the Tribal Council and proposes amendments to the Tribal Constitution. In addition, there is a Tribal Court that has jurisdiction to handle civil matters arising on the reservation or as a result of contractual obligations."

Hmmmm. Seems to me that Washington could learn a thing or two here.

Regardless, a visit to what one newspaper called the "most ambitious new museum in America" is both educational and fun and a must for anyone interested in the true history of this country. As far as educational excellence goes, if museums were universities, The Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center would be Harvard, Yale and Stanford combined. Due to the sheer volume of information and number of activities available at this remarkable institution, I would recommend a visit to the Website to plan out your visit before you go.

Exhibits and Attractions

Exhibit Galleries
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation/ A Tribal Portrait; The Glacial Crevasse; World of Ice; Arrival of the People; Life in a Cold Climate; The Changing Environment; Changing Lifeways; A Pequot Village;; Pequot Daily Life; Arrival of the Europeans; Life on the Reservation I; Life on the Reservation II, Mashantucket Pequots Today.

Native Lifeways
Baskets & Mats; Building a Wigwam; Clothing; Transportation; Fishing Tools & Techniques; Hunting Tools & Techniques; Early Agriculture; Harvesting Maize; Making a Meal; Making Ceramics.

Programs & Events

Vacation Week Videos: "Stories of the Seventh Fire"
Children will enjoy these traditional Native stories from the Canadian Cree Series called "Stories of the Seventh Fire" as they learn about Wesakechak-how he got his name and how he almost drowned in the First Spring Flood.
At 2 pm each day in the Children's Library, free.

Wampum: Gift of the Sea
Learn about the cultural history of Wampum as well as the traditional process of collection and manufacture for decorative and ceremonial uses during this hour-long program in the Research Library. At 2 pm each day, limited to 20, call 800-411-9671 to register.

Deerskin Bag Making Workshop
Make a deerskin bag using traditional and contemporary tools and decorate it with red, yellow and ochre paint. From 11 to 4 in the CL&P Classroom, $75 per person, $65 for members, limited to 25 adults (16 and up), call 1-800-411-9671 to register.

Conversations in the Disciplines
The First Americans, Thoughts on Peopling the New World: Dr. J. M. Adovasio has spent the last thirty years at the center of one of our most fiery scientific debates: Who were the first humans in the Americas, and how and when did they get there? Dr. Adovasio first came to public attention in the 1970s with his excavation of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter 30 miles from Pittsburgh. Dated at 16,000 years ago, Meadowcroft is widely recognized as the earliest well-dated site of Indian habitation in North America. Dr. Adovasio meets the public and signs copies of his book afterward.

Native Flutist and Child Protégé Evren Ozan Performs
Recording artist and child star Evren Ozan - along with his mentor Guillermo Martinez - bring the sounds of Native America to the museum for two inspiring educational performances. Described as a "Native American flute prodigy" and "an old soul returned to the People," Evren currently studies flute and percussion with both traditional and non-traditional teachers. Guillermo is an internationally acclaimed Native American musician, teacher and instrument maker whose recent CD "Bamboo Cedar Oak" is a collaborative effort with Nigel Shaw of England and Kiroki from Japan. Evren was a featured performer at the 2001 Native American Music Awards in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he received the "Rising Star" award and was described as the "future of Native American music." His second album, "As Things Could Be," was released in the spring of 2003 and features a broad range of styles and arrangements.

Native Americans in the Military
Archivist Jon Ault uses items from the collections to illustrate Native participation in armed conflicts from the colonial wars through current "Operation Iraqi Freedom." At 1 pm in the Research Library, limited to 50 adults, free.

Current Research at Mashantucket
Join museum research staff on a tour of the archaeology labs and learn about current excavations on the reservation. Get a close look at the latest artifacts and discoveries and talk with archaeologists about what these reveal about history and prehistory at Mashantucket. From 1 to 3 pm, $10 per family, $8 for members, meet at Group Entry, call 800-411-9671 to make reservations.

Family Dig-Into-The-Past Day
A fun-filled day that the whole family will dig. You and you children excavate an archaeological site on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation along with Museum staff archaeologists. From 9 to 4, wear clothing suitable for the outdoors, bring lunch and water, $12 per family, $10 for members.

Gifts of the Land: Strawberry Celebration
Come celebrate the first berry of the season with some "tasty" activities, including some homemade strawberry ice cream, a berry walk outdoors, and the traditional stories of Paulla Dove Jennings (Narragansett). Watch Erin Saulnier (Mi'kmaq) create beautiful patterns using dyed porcupine quills to decorate clothing. Listen to the music of the Pine Needle Drum Singers and take in a puppet show "Wuttamineash" about the traditional Native Strawberry Thanksgiving in the Puppet Theater. There's even a special strawberry raffle. From 11 to 4, free with museum admission.

Honoring the Nations
Come join in our celebration of honoring Native Nations and recognizing Native people who have served in the military. It is a time of remembrance as well as recognition of Native peoples' continued goal to protect and preserve their right to self-governance. Buddy Gwin, Special Assistance to the Tribal Chairman, will serve as the master of ceremonies. All activities will take place in the Gathering Space from 1 to 3 pm. We invite Native veterans to participate.

Contact Information

Address: 110 Pequot Trail, P.O. Box 3180, Mashantucket, Connecticut 06338-3180 Click here to get directions.


Phone: 1-800-411-9671
Website: http://www.pequotmuseum.org

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