In recent years, the Cincinnati Art Museum has collaborated with Indigenous communities to amplify contemporary Indigenous voices and art makers. As a part of this work, artworks by modern and contemporary Indigenous artists are exhibited on rotation within the galleries. Historical Indigenous objects are not currently on display, and the museum plans to prioritize consultation with descendant communities to create an ethical, collaborative, and informed future for these works.
Indigenous American art and material culture have long been a part of the museum’s history, beginning in 1881. Some of the earliest works to enter the museum’s art collections were historical Indigenous objects, which were unearthed from local archaeological sites. In the following decades, additional Indigenous objects and artworks came to the museum, primarily from Cincinnatians.
Ranging from ceramics and textiles to jewelry and musical instruments, many of the Indigenous objects in the museum’s collection were originally created and used by communities in the Northwest Coast and Alaska, the Plains, the Southwest, and Mexico. These artworks date from the 11th century BCE to the 20th century CE, embodying Indigenous expertise and artistry and representing diverse Nations and cultures.