Crow War Pony–1, Fine Art Photography by Brady Willette; pony painting by Kennard Real Bird (Crow). Collection of the National Museum of the American Indian.

'A Song for the Horse Nation': Exhibit on the Move in January


The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in D.C. will soon be taking its critically acclaimed exhibit "A Song for the Horse Nation" on the road. But visitors to the D.C. museum still have until January 7 to view it there.

The exhibit explores one of the greatest sagas of human contact with the animal world—American Indians and horses. According to the museum, "Through an array of 122 historic objects, artwork, photographs, songs and personal accounts, 'A Song for the Horse Nation' tells the epic story of how the return of horses to the Americas by Christopher Columbus changed everything for Indians—from the way they traveled, hunted and waged war to how they celebrated generosity, exhibited bravery and conducted ceremonies. It shows how horse trading among tribes was the conduit for the extensive spread of mustangs in the Plains and Plateau regions of the United States, as well as how horses became the inspiration for new artistic expressions and rich traditions that continue to this day."

Among the items on display is a "19th-century, 16-foot-tall, 38-foot-circumference Lakota tipi, in which 110 hand-painted horses, some with riders, all at a full gallop, cover the entire surface in rich reds, turquoise blues and golds as vivid and fresh as the day they were created. These battle and horse-raiding scenes proclaim the heroic deeds of the warrior who once lived in the tipi."

Horse Nation: Apsáalooke (Crow) horse regalia. Photo: Ernest Amoroso/NMAI

Additionally, "life-size model horses, one pulling a 19th-century Cheyenne travois (a frame used to drag heavy loads over land), and another tacked in a dazzling display of fully beaded traditional Apsáalooke (Crow) regalia used in parades today, will also be on display. Other highlights include rifles belonging to celebrated mounted warriors Geronimo (Chiricahua Apache), Chief Joseph (Nez Perce) and Chief Rain-in-the-Face (Hunkpapa Lakota) and the famous ceremonial dance stick (ca. 1890) of No Two Horns (Hunkpapa Lakota), which he created to honor his well-loved horse that died at the Battle of the Little Big Horn."

After closing in D.C., the exhibit is scheduled to  open at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis on March 9, 2013.

For full details on the exhibit, visit the museum's website by clicking here.

There is also a short video about the exhibit:


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