‘The Quest For High Bear” Opens At HMNS Aug.15
“The Quest for High Bear: A Boy’s Odyssey Through Indian Country 1925-1939” opens at the Houston Museum of Natural Science Aug. 15. The artifacts were collected by Gordon W. Smith throughout his life.
Travel back into the 1920s with Smith as he begins his collection of American Indian artifacts. Starting with the first artifact he collected, a leather rattler given to him at the age of five, to the painted story bison skins of the Sioux, the exhibit encourages visitors to see through the eyes of the collector.
“Mr. Smith had a unique relationship with several American Indian tribes, as is evidenced by the number of gifts he exchanged with them,” said Dirk Van Tuerenhout, Ph.D., curator of anthropology at the HMNS. “He was their friend during a time when being an American Indian had an extremely negative connotation in the United States.”
Visitors can view War Bonnets, created by the Lakota and North Cheyenne Indians, and even one created by Smith himself. Decorated with eagle feathers, these War Bonnets were only given to men who had exhibited bravery during war.
The Quest for High Bear also contains dozens of examples of hand-crafted American Indian necklaces. Some of these were made from orange, red, and blue beads, as well as shell, and from a grizzly bear claw. Also on display are examples of American Indian clothing; ranging from beaded dresses and vests, to beaded moccasins from the far corners of the country.
“This is a collection of artifacts that were used in the daily life of American Indians over a century ago, a part of a fading culture,” said Van Tuerenhout. “This is a collection of stunning, beautiful works of craftsmanship, but the heart of the exhibit is the story of the vast majority of American Indian people – an example of a lifestyle that once existed and is no more.”
Tickets to The Quest for High Bear are included in general admission: $10 for adults; $7 for children (3 – 11), seniors (62+), and college students with a valid ID; free for Museum members; $2.50 school groups; and $4.50 for groups of 20 or more. For tickets, or more information, visit www.hmns.org or call 713-639-4629.