Mitchell Museum
of the American Indian

3001 Central Street
Evanston, IL 60201



Miniature Artwork - Enormous Appeal


“Miniature Artwork - Enormous Appeal” features exquisite examples of miniatures from tribal communities across the United States and Canada. Visitors will marvel at the miniature interpretations of Native American utilitarian and ceremonial objects on display including basketry, silverwork, carving, weaving and pottery from the 1900s to today.

“The exhibit compares beautifully handcrafted miniatures made of silver, fibers, wood and clay to their full size counterparts,” says Janelle Stanley, Curator at Mitchell Museum of the American Indian. “Creating these miniature objects with the same technique and design details requires tremendous skill and dexterity.”

Miniatures came about under a variety of circumstances in the Native American and First Nation communities of the United States and Canada. Before train depots brought tourism and souvenir commerce to Native communities across America, indigenous people had hand-crafted miniature tools, small-scale household items and dolls. These durable. miniature items served as teaching tools for Native children to learn lifeways, responsibility, and caring, thereby sustaining the traditional values of Native families and tribes.

At the turn of the 19th century, train routes entered rural Native American and First Nation communities where tourists first saw and wanted to buy Native products. Commerce generated collectors who encouraged and supported local artists. The artists produced utilitarian and traditional items in a small, portable size perfect for collectibles. As Euro-American ideas and styles influenced and changed the cultural landscape of Native communities, the artists developed innovative and traditional designs of miniatures in basketry, silverwork, carving, and pottery.


Q: Why are there dimes in all these pictures?

A: To show you the real size of these works of art!

Tuesday – Saturday:
10am – 5pm
Thursday: 10am – 8pm
Sunday: 12pm – 4pm

Adults: $5.00
Children, students, teachers, seniors: $3.00 
Mitchell Members: FREE
Tribal Members: FREE



Make a craft,
explore inside a
real wigwam, and
much more!
See other great
activities for
Kids & Families>>

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