The IARC collection is considered by many to be one of the most remarkable assemblages of Southwestern Native American art in the world. Representing a broad range of works, this valuable collection’s foundation initially was formed in 1922 as the Indian Arts Fund and has since grown to over 12,000 items, which are housed in two vaults in the IARC building. The stewardship of this collection continues to be a primary focus of IARC activities to maintain it for future generations. Collections care currently focuses on integrated pest management, preventive conservation, environmental monitoring, and mount making for objects to support the continued preservation of the collection.
As a research collection, IARC endeavors to connect people with the collection in various ways. It is a resource for artists, scholars, researchers, students, Native American peoples, and others. Native American artists are encouraged to study the collections to inspire their own work. School groups regularly visit the collections for educational purposes, either independently or in conjunction with other coursework. Consultation with authorized, knowledgeable tribal officials or representatives helps increase IARC’s understanding about the collections and improve its documentation. Scholars of Native American art utilize the collection for publications. These are only a few of the ways in which IARC attempts to broaden the use and understanding of the collection.
Aspects of the collections also form the basis of seminars or symposia designed to add to the IARC’s knowledge of the collections as well as to increase public understanding of Native American art. Recent symposia have focused on conservation methods for Native American collections and the use of testing and mediation of pesticides. Seminars developed around baskets, moccasins, and textiles have brought Native American artists to IARC to meet with their peers and contribute to the understanding of the art and its techniques.
IARC encourages individuals and communities to make use of the collection through research, exhibit loans, scheduled tours, and publications to share its beauty and significance.
To take a tour of these collections, click here.