North American collections make up nearly half of the Museum’s collections. Archaeological collections include all phases from Paleo-Indian to historic, excavated on the Museum’s many expeditions or acquired through individual donations. Ethnographic collections from the seventeenth- to twenty-first centuries come from across the continent. Many rare objects from the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-centuries came to the Museum from the collections of the Boston Museum, the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Boston Marine Society. Some important collections are highlighted below.
Chauncey Nash collection of Inuit prints and sculpture.
Garments and hunting equipment.
Ivory and steatite carvings.
Image: Ivory carving of a dogsled, Inuit, early 20th century. Photo by Mark Craig. PM 64-34-10/43938.
Baskets collected by Grace Nicholson.
Paul Schumacher excavations in the Channel Islands, California.
Image: Lidded trinket basket, Elizabeth Hickox, Upper Klamath River, Ten Eyck, California, 1913 or earlier. Photo by Hillel Burger. PM 13-9-10/8396.
Baskets from Paiute and Shoshone.
Image: Paiute water jar. PM 13-9-10/8533.
Midwest & Great Lakes
Early twentieth-century collections from M. Raymond Harrington from the Southeastern Ojibwa and Potawatomi.
Great Lakes collections from David Bushnell.
Hopewell and later mound sites: Madisonville, Turner, and Turpin.
Image: Mica Human Effigy Face, Turner Group. Photo by Hillel Burger. PM 82-35-10/30002.1.
Harvard Yard excavations, Massachusetts.
Historic period sites in Boston and Cambridge area including Saugus Iron Works, and Fort Independence, Massachusetts.
Neville, New Hampshire.
Quillwork, baskets, wampum, and canoes.
Trenton gravels, New Jersey.
Watertown Arsenal, Massachusetts.
Damariscotta shell heaps, Maine.
Image: King Philip's Sash, Wampanoag. Photo by Hillel Burger. PM 90-17-10/49333.
Chilkat blankets, masks, coppers, rattles, armor.
Edward Fast collection (Tlingit).
John Webber drawings.
Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) collection of Charles Newcombe.
Image: Woven hat from the Northwest Coast. PM 67-10-10/268.2.
Klamath and Nez Perce textiles and baskets.
Objects Collected by Alice Fletcher (primarily Nez Perce, Plains, Prairie).
Items collected by Lewis and Clark.
Paintings and drawings by George Catlin, Charles Bird King, Seth Eastman.
William Claflin Plains collection.
Image: Oglala Dress, late 19th century. Photo by Hillel Burger. PM 03-1-10/62733.
Teit Collection from the Thompson River.
Image: Winter hat. Thompson River collection. PM 15-36-10/86574.
C.B. Moore collections, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana.
Cherokee baskets and pottery, North Carolina.
Chitimacha baskets, Louisiana.
De Batz watercolors of Louisiana.
Groton Plantation, South Carolina.
Mississippi Survey, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi.
Mississippian mound sites, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas.
Seminole textiles and garments, Florida.
Image: Chitimacha double weave basket, "worm tracks" design. Clara Darden collection. Photo by Hillel Burger. PM 32-18-10/31.
Alkali Ridge expeditions, Utah.
Bat Cave, New Mexico.
Claflin-Emerson and Morss expeditions, Utah.
Hemenway Southwest Archaeological Expedition, Arizona, New Mexico, including paintings by Julian Scott and the Keam collection of pottery, baskets and katsina dolls, Arizona, New Mexico.
Kidder and Guernsey expeditions, Arizona.
Mimbres collections from Swarts Ruin, New Mexico.
Pueblo ceramics from nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Twentieth-century Native American paintings and watercolors.
William Claflin collection of Navajo rugs and textiles.
Wright collection of midtwentieth-century ceramics, baskets, and textiles.
Image: Navajo blanket or serape. Photo by Hillel Burger. PM 32-27-10/58.
Collections from the Naskapi, Montagnais, Nahani, and Tinne.
Image: Embroidered pouch, Montagnais. PM 94-38-10/62486.
Archival & Photographic Collections
For collections that are processed, Finding Aids provide information and detailed descriptions about the contents of manuscript and paper collections. The Archives tries to regularly upload Finding Aids online to HOLLIS for Archival Discovery, a union catalog of Finding Aids created by archival and manuscript repositories at Harvard. To search Finding Aids or browse a list of Peabody Museum Archives collections, please visit the Peabody Museum page on HOLLIS for Archival Discovery.
Bushnell, David Ives, Jr. Collection Records, 1845-1942
Hell Gap Expedition Records, 1961-68
Hemenway Expedition Records, 1886-1914
Lothrop, Samuel K. Papers, 1915-1962
Vannerson & Cohner (1857-1858), Shindler (1867) Images of Native American visiting Washington, D.C.
Collections highlighted in other parts of the website
- Harvard Yard Archaeology Project (HYAP)
- Pioneers of Southeastern Archaeology: Gordon R. Willey
See the Research Visits for more information on accessing collections.