To bring the collection of the National Museum of the American Indianinto classrooms and encourage students and educators to connect and engage with the collection, regardless of whether they are able to visit the museum itself.
Launched by the National Museum of the American Indian's George Gustav Heye Centerin New York City, Culture Questis a Web site designed specifically for students and educators by the museum's education department in collaboration with New York-area public school teachers for grades four through eight. The site features the permanent exhibition "Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collection of the National Museum of the American Indian," which includes some seven hundred works related to Native cultures, traditions, and art.
Culture Quest is supported by education sponsors Valerie and Jack Rowe and the Rowe Family Foundation; the Nathan Cummings Foundation, with the support and encouragement of Andrew Lee, Ernest J. Tollerson and Hannah Cummings; the Smithsonian Youth Access Grants Program; and the Smithsonian School Programming Fund. A DVD version of the site also is available free of charge to educators by request.
Outstanding Web Features:
Visitors to the site can explore the "Infinity of Nations" collection through three interactive sections: Explore the Gallery, Play Culture Quest, and See Contemporary Native American Art. The Gallery section invites visitors to learn about the aesthetic, cultural, and historic importance of twenty-five of the objects in the exhibition, including headdresses, clothing, an effigy jar, and a gourd. Structured as an interactive game, Play Culture Quest sends the player across North and South America to study one object from each of ten regions, including their design, manufacturing technique, historical background, and related resources such as photographs and descriptions of contemporary lives. When the player has completed the educational activities for all ten regions, the player becomes a Culture Quest Leader.
The site also offers teaching resources, including additional background information about terminology, the ten Native cultures, headdresses, and contemporary art featured in the game, and ideas for the classroom.