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A Song for the Horse Nation – Exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian

January 4, 2013

A Song for the Horse Nation is a current exhibition in the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. Unfortunately, it does close on the 7th of January, so if you do want to go and have a look then you need to hurry up. This exhibition looks at the use of horses in the Native American cultures.

The exhibition begins with a brief history of horses, revealing in fact that horses did in fact originate in Europe and Asia. They then came to the American continent in the 15th century with the Spanish. The exhibition states that this must have been a shock for the indigenous population at the time, I can imagine it really was.

As you move through the exhibitions you will find a colourful display of cloths, some used on horses and others with horses displayed on them. You will learn how the American Indians used horses and of course they were used in the most practical way. The horses were used in both a domestic setting and on the battlefield. When on the battlefield in the 19th century, the horses would wear some fabulously coloured masks, some of which are on display.

Also on display is a lot of artwork containing the image of the horse, this includes toys, clothing and ornaments. The most impressive piece, in my opinion, is the tipi with various coloured horses covering the outside; I have included a picture of it below.


If you do have a chance this weekend, and want to know how the Native Americans used horses, then head down to the National Museum of the American Indian. If you don’t, then I have a link for you below, where you can get some of the information and have a look at the artefacts on display.

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