Opening the Doors: Putting the National Museum of the American Indian Collections Online

Ann McMullen, Ph.D., Curator and Head of Collections Research and Documentation, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution

IARC Speaker Series, SAR Boardroom

Friday, April 30, 2010, 5:30–6:30 pm

Ann McMullenAnn McMullenPhotograph courtesy Ann McMullen.Ann McMullenPhotograph courtesy Ann McMullen.

Based on work that began in 2006, Ann McMullen will discuss development of the National Museum of the American Indian’s online Collections Search, including the challenges of working with, correcting, and enhancing less-than-perfect collections documentation; meeting the museum’s and the public’s expectations for a collections website while respecting the wishes of Native tribal communities; background research on how the NMAI collections were assembled; and how work on the website has both made collections more accessible and opened new doors in terms of collections research and information.

Ann McMullen is Curator and Head of Collections Research and Documentation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. She holds a doctorate in Anthropology and has research interests in Native North America, the history of collecting and museums, and NMAI history. Since 2003, she has led NMAI’s efforts to develop a new collections information system, update and enhance collections information, and bring NMAI collections information to the Web. 

Reading List

“Anthropology - Comparison to Today’s Museums.” The World at the Fair: Experiences of the 1893 Columbian Exposition.

Kennedy, Shirley. “Resource of the Week — National Museum of the American Indian: Collections Search”. Resource Shelf.

Kidwell, Clara Sue. “Every Last Dishcloth: The Prodigious Collecting of George Gustav Heye.” Collecting Native America: 1870–1960, ed. Shepard Krech III and Barbara A. Hail, 232-258. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999.

McMullen, Ann. “Reinventing George Heye: Nationalizing the Museum of the American Indian and Its Collections.” Contesting Knowledge: Museums and Indigenous Perspectives. edited by Susan Sleeper-Smith. Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2009

Moazami, Emily. “Snapshots of Transition: Native American Reservation Life in the Early 1900s.” The Bigger Picture: Photography and the Smithsonian. November 7, 2009.

“NMAI Collection Online.” WVU Organization for Native American Interests. March 17, 2009.

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. “Collections.”

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. “George Gustav Heye Founder of the Museum of the American Indian (1916) in New York City.” Press release, August 2004.

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. “National Museum of the American Indian Collections Search.”

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. “Native art, artifacts now just a click away.” NMAI E-Newservice. Vol. No. 02 Issue No. 02 • Feb. 20, 2009.

Sponsored by Anne Ray Charitable Trust

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