Wednesday, May 9, 2007

nmai

the newest jewel in the smithsonian museum complex is the national museum of the american indian. not only does the museum's collection celebrate and educate on the immense contributions of our native peoples, but the building brings a presence of harmony with nature that until now has been missing among the district's monumental buildings. the museum, designed by an architectural team composed of representatives of several native communities (blackfook, hopi, cherokee/choctaw, and navajo/oneida), is able to convey this spiritual union with the natural world through its unique curvilinear form, the building's alignment with the four cardinal directions, and the inclusion of wetlands and a mini forest on its grounds which provides a habitat for wildlife. inside and out every detail of the museum is a symbolic celebration of native cultures - from the entrance doors, etched with sun symbols from native cultures to the bird motifs reflecting the cardinal directions found in the elevators. although my visit monday was my third trip to this marvelous museum, I expect I will need to make dozens of trips before I even scratch the surface on all it's offerings!

"The past never changes. But the way we understand it, learn about it, and know about it changes all the time. What was 'gospel' then is often in disrepute now. Yesterday's truth becomes false or irrefutable or offensive today. And visa versa."
(from introduction to museum - part of the 4th floor permanent exhibit)

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