Department of American Indian Art Records
Scope and Contents Note
The Department of American Indian Art Records, dated 2000-2012, consist of correspondence, reinstallation plans, event planning for programs such as Tradition-Innovation: Contemporary Masters of Native American Ceramics (2010), and other miscellaneous materials. This collection contains materials which pertain to the Department of American Indian Art after its separation from the Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas (AOA) and coincide with the arrival of Gaylord Torrence as its curator in the early 2000s. It is organized into five series: Reinstallation Files, 2003-2009 (Series I); Object Files, 2000-2002 (Series II), Proposed Exhibition Files , 2002-2012 (Series III); Exhibition Files, 2012 (Series IV); Event/Program Files, 2010-2011 (Series V).
- Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Organization)
Restrictions on Access
Gaylord Torrence’s “VIP Guest List”, “Donor/Lender Thank You List” (folder 11), and “Opening Weekend Guest List”(folder 16) in Series I are restricted. The Donald D. Jones Collection Binder (2000) and Masco Collection Binder (2003) in Series II are restricted. Only staff may view these materials.
Conditions Governing Use Note
Notification of intent to publish, quote, or cite archival materials is required. Contact the archives via https://nelson-atkins.org/library/.
Biographical / Historical Note
The Department of American Indian Art had its beginnings at the museum with works acquired in 1933 from the Fred Harvey Company in Kansas City and the Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation in New York (now the National Museum of the American Indian). In the museum’s 1957 Annual Report, the department is first mentioned as the “Department of Native Arts” however, after the departure of the department’s assistant curator G.F. (Franklin) Crabtree in 1964, it became more generally referred to as “Primitive Arts” under the watch of Ralph T. Coe. Coe’s 1977 exhibition, Sacred Circles: 2,000 Years of North American Indian Art, boosted the Museum’s attendance to the second highest level in its history. For many years, the museum’s American Indian collections were grouped together with the Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas (AOA) until a decision was made in the early 2000s to divide it into two separate departments.
In 2001, a gift of 170 objects from Donald D. Jones was made to the newly named Department of American Indian Art with Gaylord Torrence joining the museum the following year as the founding Fred and Virginia Merrill Curator of American Indian Art. These gifts along with additional funding and Torrence’s direct expertise in the field led to a rapid growth of the museum’s American Indian art collection and called for multiple gallery reinstallations and expansions during the mid to late 2000s.
4.4 Linear Feet (In 1 record center carton, 2 legal half document cases, and 1 flat box.)
Language of Materials
The Department of American Indian Art records contain correspondence, exhibit and reinstallation planning, photographs, publicity, and other miscellaneous material. These records document the activities of the department from 2000-2012, after its division from the Department and African, Oceanic, and the Americas (AOA) in the early 2000s and with the arrival of Gaylord Torrence, founding Fred and Virginia Merrill Curator of American Indian Art in 2002.
This collection is organized into five series: Reinstallation Files, 2003-2009 (Series I); Object Files, 2000-2002 (Series II), Proposed Exhibition Files , 2002-2012 (Series III); Exhibition Files, 2012 (Series IV); Event/Program Files, 2010-2011 (Series V).
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Transfer; accession numbers associated with this collection are 2015-07.
Additions to the collection are anticipated.
- Finding Aid of the Department of American Indian Art Records, RG 14
- Prepared by Christain Hartman
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Archives Repository
4525 Oak St.
Kansas City MO 64111 United States