The Harry L. George collection of approximately 3,000 American Indian items became a cornerstone of the St. Joseph Museum collection in the 1940s. “Lines and Legacies: The Harry L. George American Indian Collection” will re-open showcasing many of the impressive items from this collection.
The Harry L. George Collection is one of St. Joseph’s greatest treasures. Experts such as Dr. Peter Welsh, Professor of Museum Studies at the University of Kansas and Jonathon Batkin, Director of the Wheelwright Museum in New Mexico and author of The Native American Curio Trade, have identified this collection as uniquely significant and well-documented.
Harry George was a textile broker at the turn of the 20th century in St. Joseph, Missouri. He amassed one of the largest encyclopedic collections of American Indian objects in the Midwest. This important collection preserves significant items from the 1800s as well as the history of the culture of collecting that took place in the early 1900s. George corresponded with well-known collectors whose work led to the foundation of museums across the country such as George Heye (National Museum of the American Indian), Herman Schweizer with the Fred Harvey Company (Heard Museum), and Grace Nicholson (Pacific Asia Museum). “Lines and Legacies” will feature selected objects from the Harry L. George Collection, discuss collecting practices that are the foundation of museums, provide a window to the lives of Native Americans at the turn of the last century, and ponder the legacy of these museum collections today.
“‘Lines & Legacies’ is an opportunity to truly showcase the Harry L. George Collection, as well as some of the other excellent American Indian objects we have at the museum. While portions of the George collection have been part of the exhibits since the mid-1940s, this is the first time that a significant amount of the collection has been displayed at one time. We are very happy to be able to share it with the public,” said Sarah Elder, Curator of Collections, St. Joseph Museums.
Funding for the exhibit was provided by Mosaic, Missouri Humanities Council, St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Western State University History Society, Dr. Robert and Karen Corder, Richard and Mignon DeShon, Lisa Logan, Moya Family Foundation, and Al and Annie Purcell.
The exhibit area will be open during the regular museum hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Museum admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, (62 and above) and $4 for students. Museum members and children under six are free of charge. Please call 816-232-8471 or visit stjosephmuseum.org for more information on events, exhibits, and rental facilities.
Information for this post provided by St. Joseph Museums [Website]