Native Voices

Native Voices in Penn Exhibits

The Penn Museum’s first major push towards recognizing Native Americans through their own voices was in 2011, with their Louis Shotridge digital archive. Louis Shotridge was a member of the Tlingit tribe in Alaska. This archive, curated by Penn Museum’s Senior Keeper of American Collections, Lucy Fowler Williams, was created to honor Shotridge and his vision in preserving Tlingit history and culture. With the goal of drawing more scholarly and museum attention to Native voices and further preserving Tlingit culture and history, the museum created a core database where anyone can find all of Shotridges items in one place. 

Shotridge held the most extensive collection of the Tlingit tribe in Southeastern Alaska. It features objects, documents, photographs, and sound recordings, all of which are accessible in the Penn archives. 

Shortly after this archive was published, the Penn museum opened their Native American Voices long-term exhibition in 2014, also curated by Lucy Fowler Williams . This exhibition was founded with similar goals to the Shotridge archive. This is an exhibition, told by Native American voices themselves, is set with the intention to bring light to Native Americans in their own words. This is a physical exhibit at the Penn Museum featuring objects, videos, audio, and digital interactions.