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Honoring Native American Heritage Month with Native American Art and Native American Museum Exhibits in NJ

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

We’re very excited to celebrate Native American Heritage month and look at the indigenous history of our humble garden state. Today’s blog is dedicated to sharing some wonderful historic sites and museums that celebrate Native Americans of the northeast and New Jersey. We’re really excited to share these with you, and to be able to share knowledge of the indigenous people on whose land we reside on. Going to the museum and learning more about Native American culture and history is a great opportunity to show our children a new perspective on American History. (And in case you didn’t know, our admin staff and social media manager are all big nerds for local history, anthropology, and cultural arts, so they’re thrilled about this post, too)

a branh holding art display of birds made out of beads in various colors

Did you know that the indigenous Native Americans located in the Northeastern US are known as the “Northeast Woodlands American Indians?”

From the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, hundreds of different groups of Native Americans lived in this region. You’ll find many of the objects from this region are hand carvedork primarily featuring woodworked items. This includes birch-bark canoes, birch-bark architecture, wooden bowls and ladles and spoons, pipes, war clubs, carved 3D sculptures, ritual face masks, and basketry.

Tribes in the area we now know as New Jersey include: Nanticoke Lenni Lenape, Powhatan Renape Nation, and the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation.

Learn more about Native American and Indigenous Cultures from these wonderful local Native American Museum Exhibits in NJ:

The New Jersey State Museum in Trenton is the perfect place to visit to get in touch with the truth about Europeans colonialism and Native Americans. This museum highlights Native American artifacts, documents, historic maps and drawings, and artwork. The “Cultures in Competition” exhibit follows the relationship between the 17th century Dutch, Swedish, and British colonizers and the Native Peoples of New Jersey.

The Franklin Mineral Museum in Franklin has a wonderful exhibit featuring anthropological finds of Native American artifacts from the Lenni Lenape and other indigenous tribal cultures. Each of the displays in this exhibit contain artifacts from the US and Mexico, with cultural items such as art pottery, household goods, weaponry, tools, and more.

The Montclair Art Museum in Montclair is home to a stunning exhibit with a permanent collection of Native American work from across North America. This stunning collection is frequently updated with new works, and is one of the most dynamic collections of Native art in the Northeast. The collection was organized by three women in the early nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It features a strong central focus on the works of Native women in particular, including basket art, beadwork, paintings, carvings, and more.

The Morris Museum in Morristown is host to a beautiful collection of Native American Art and artifacts. Featuring pottery, textiles, quill work, beading, painting, and more. Tribal peoples represented include indigenous folk from the Northeast Woodlands, the Southwest, American Plains, and Pacific Northwest Coastal areas. Objects from each region are displayed in easy-to-read color coded cases.

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