National Museum of the American Indian: Americans

Laurie Swindull

Web Project Manager, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

Fourth St. & Independence Ave., SW Washington, DC 20560 United States

IDCA Best Website Award 2018


Taking a Closer Look: Americans Online



Native people are nearly invisible in the United States. They make up less than 1 percent of the population, and are mostly absent from today's great national debates. Yet representations of Indians are ubiquitous. Dream catchers, mascots, weapons, place names, fashion, advertising—they wallpaper contemporary American life, so common that they seem to require no discussion. The National Museum of the American Indian suggests these themes and representations deserve a closer look.



The Americans website launched in tandem with the opening of the exhibition of the same name at the museum in Washington, DC. Americans uncovers the many ways American Indian images, names, and stories have been part of the United States' history, identity, and pop culture since before the country began. Not only does Americans reveal the phenomenon of hiding in plain sight, it asserts that these prevalent images, words, and stories are a powerful way to understand a country forever fascinated and conflicted by its relationship with American Indians.



This presentation will review the ways in which a monumental gallery installation of hundreds of Indian-themed artifacts was successfully translated to a synoptic online experience that both immerses users in this imagery and provides opportunities to explore iconic stories, such as Pocahontas and the Trail of Tears, and a unique American Indian perspective on Thanksgiving. #NDNsEverywhere



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