This birch bark basket, inscribed with the name of the Museum’s first curator of Michigan archaeology, Wilbert B. Hinsdale, is part of an extensive collection of Native American baskets donated to the museum by Hinsdale in 1936 in memory of his wife, Estelle. While the small size of this basket suggests that it was made for the tourist market rather than daily use, its form resembles containers used for holding food or winnowing grains. We do not know the name or community of the Chippewa woman who made this basket. Indeed, it may already have been an antique when the Hinsdales acquired it. Nonetheless, its elegant design and the careful stitching of the contrasting binding reveal the maker’s considerable skill and artistry.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.