This is an image of the collections room at the National Museum of the American Indian’s Cultural Resource Center in Suitland, Maryland. I was working here all day yesterday and then again this morning. (In the afternoon I got to work in the photo archives.) There were tons of things to look at and I’ve got all sorts of photographs and notes so far. Tomorrow I’ll be at the main museum building near the Capitol on the mall to do a training session in the morning and give a couple of presentations in the afternoon, one to museum staff and another that is open to the public.
Some of my favorite Karuk objects I got to study were the strands of dentalium shells that were used as money. When I first saw them I was really amazed because dentalium shells are usually white and these had all sorts of brilliant colors. It turned out that some of them, especially the ones used as money, were adorned with snakeskin. Some also have feathers and carving on them. You can see in the image below what I’m talking about. Also, they are about 2 inches long to give you a sense of scale. For now, I’m off to bed to try and catch up on some sleep!