Object Lessons

Object Lesson: Fresh Water Line, Flood Victims, Louisville by Margaret Bourke-White

In the winter of 1937 the Ohio River overran its banks and flooded the land between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Cairo, Illinois, killing almost four hundred hundred people and displacing approximately one million. Communities in the path of the floodwaters were already struggling in the depths of the Great Depression, and few cities were more inundated… Read More

Object Lesson: Francis Nakai and Family by Laura Gilpin

Through the course of the nineteenth century, white photographers making portraits of Native American sitters generally framed their subjects in stereotypical ways that exoticized their culture. Many of these photographs augmented the myth that Native American populations could not assimilate into white society and were destined to disappear. Such parallel ideas were often evoked to… Read More

Object Lesson: Frontlet Headdress of the Bella Coola Peoples

The Bella Coola Peoples of Canada’s Pacific Northwest, also known as the Nuxalk are renowned as carvers, with a mask-making tradition that includes physical representations of supernatural beings with animal-like features of species common to the tribe’s home region, including owls, killer whales, ravens, and wolves. This headdress in NOMA’s Native American art collection depicts an predatory bird. Read More

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