All photos by Nathan J. Silverman
Children can build dreamcatchers at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian.

Native Culture and Crafts for Kids at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

March 26, 2013

The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston, Illinois, will offer special spring-break activities this month for schoolchildren and their families.

Beginning today, March 26, and running through Friday, March 29, the museum will offer do-it-yourself craft activities on a walk-in basis during regular museum hours. Kids, accompanied by an adult, can make simple versions of objects inspired by Native cultures to take home as souvenirs.

Projects will include Southwest rug weaving, Northwest Coast mask coloring, creating Plains shields and Seminole patchwork.

From 2-2:30 p.m. on each of the spring-break days, youngsters can hear Native stories told in the museum’s Teaching Lodge area.

The craft activities and story times are free with regular museum admission.

Kids can express themselves and learn Native arts during workshops at the Mitchell.

Weekend Kids Craft Mornings

The museum continues to offer its regular “Kids Craft Morning” programs on Saturdays and Sundays. Mitchell staffers and volunteers lead the informal, one-hour sessions where children learn to construct simple versions of traditional Native American objects to take home, using everyday craft materials.

Kids will make, among other items, a Cherokee syllabary, a booklet using written symbols to represent syllables of the Cherokee language; and dreamcatchers of willow branches, yarn, and beads.

Program dates, times, and themes through the end of May are as follows:

-- March 30, 11 a.m.-noon. Cherokee syllabary
-- March 31, 12:30–1:30 p.m. Cherokee syllabary
-- April 6, 11 a.m.–noon. Talking feathers
-- April 7, 12:30–1:30 p.m. Talking feathers
-- April 13, 11 a.m.¬–noon. Plains warrior shields
-- April 14, 12:30-1:30 p.m.  Plains warrior shields
-- April 20, 11 a.m.-noon. Navajo woven rugs
-- April 21, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Navajo woven rugs
-- April 27, 11 a.m.-noon. Dream catchers
-- April 28, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Dream catchers
-- May 4, 11 a.m.-noon. Bolo ties
-- May 5, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Bolo ties
-- May 11, 11 a.m.-noon. Woven baskets
-- May 12, 12:30-1:30 p.m.  Woven baskets
-- May 18, 11 a.m.-noon. Corn husk dolls
-- May 19, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Corn husk dolls
-- May 25, 11 a.m.-noon. Loom beading
-- May 26, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Loom beading

The museum offers coloring projects and other simple craft activities on request at the workshops.

Offered year-round, the museum’s Kids Craft workshops are designed to introduce children to Native cultures of the U.S. and Canada, which are the focus of the Mitchell Museum’s collections and exhibits.

A Plains Indian shield created by a talented kid during a workshop at the Mitchell.

Workshop participants have the opportunity to view authentic examples of Native crafts from the Mitchell’s collection and illustrations of Native designs as models for their projects.

Kids Craft Morning activities are recommended for children ages 5 and up, but there is no minimum age requirement. Participants must be accompanied by an adult. No pre-registration is necessary.

Admission to Kids Craft Morning workshops is included with museum admission, which is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors, students, teachers (with valid school ID), and children. Admission is free for Mitchell members and tribal members.

The independent, nonprofit Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is at 3001 Central St., Evanston, Illinois. For information, phone 847-475-1030; email [email protected]. Online: