Collections: The Mastery of Traditional Craftspeople

Visitors to The Museum at Warm Springs will experience firsthand the sounds of ancient songs and languages, the mastery of traditional craftspeople and the sights of rich and colorful cultures that make up the Confederated Tribes of The Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon. For the first time, their histories and traditions are told in an exciting, permanent, interactive exhibit, bringing to life the fascinating story of the Tribes.

The collections of The Museum are rotated throughout the year. So, when you visit you may see an entire new display in the gallery.

The dream of a Tribal collection for The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon began over four decades ago.

In 1968, the Tribal leadership and community recognized that private collectors and off-reservation institutions were buying much of their material culture. Soon thereafter, the Tribes began to allocate $50,000 per year for the purchase of artifacts from individual Tribal members and families of the Warm Springs community. More than $1.5 million has been expended to date.

“Their effort represents perhaps the most aggressive acquisition program ever undertaken by an American Indian group,” said the Smithsonian Institution. The collection includes family heirlooms, trade items from other tribes, bestowed gifts and keepsakes that have been passed on from generation to generation, making the collection one of the best and most complete material collections owned by a Native tribe. There are noteworthy holdings of Pacific Northwest Native American paintings, sculpture, masks, ceremonial clothing, ritual implements, beadwork and historical archives.

In addition, The Museum’s archives boasts 5,000 photographs dating from the 1850s to the present. The final component of the archive consists of important Tribal documents and many books on a wide range of subjects on American Indian history, art and culture.