Exploring the Art of American Indian Communities at the EPCOT American Heritage Gallery

We continue to honor the cultures and contributions of Native American and Native American communities and tribes during Native American Heritage Month. Today we highlight the recently updated content at The American Heritage Gallery, originally opened in 2018 within the American Adventure Pavilion at EPCOT.

Creating tradition: innovation and change in American Indian art it displays authentic native artifacts along with contemporary works of American Indian art, showing examples of cultural traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.

“We recently added artist Jayne Myers’ Comanche / Blackfeet dress to the show, ”said assistant producer Jackie Herrera. “It’s amazing to be able to show the art and culture of each of these different Indian tribes to our guests.”

Articles from the exhibition Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art at EPCOT

Walt Disney Imagineering’s collection management team (which also recently brought to life “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure,” now open at the New Orleans Jazz Museum for a limited time) worked on collaboration with the Museum of Indian Art and Culture (MIAC) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Smithsonian National Museum of American India (NMAI) in Washington, DC to bring the current exhibition to life and EPCOT. They also continue to work closely with the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum which is located within the Seminole tribal community.

“This exhibition would not have been possible without our partnerships with the numerous museums, tribes and artists featured in the exhibition,” said curator Deb Van Horn. “These partnerships allowed us to bring authentic stories to our guests and make sure we represent cultures in a respectful and engaging way.”

Articles from the exhibition Creating Tradition: Innovation and Change in American Indian Art at EPCOT

Through interactive exhibits and immersive narratives, native communities from seven geographic regions, just one sample of the 574 federally recognized tribes and more than 200 tribes recognized by the state of the United States, are currently represented in the gallery. His art represents the richness, depth and diversity of the native cultures of the past and present. Some of the featured artists include fashion designer Loren Aragon (Acoma Pueblo), famed doll maker Glenda McKay (Ingalik-Athabascan) and Juanita Growing Thunder (Assiniboine Sioux) from the Montana Growing Thunder family.

“It’s really an honor for the Walt Disney Imagineering Collections team to be able to help share native and Indigenous stories with our guests and allow these groups to truly see their stories within the parks for the first time,” Deb said.

Stay tuned for additional updates to come in the new year with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. We are telling stories throughout the month in honor of Native American Heritage Month. Be sure to follow this for more information on the blog and social media @DisneyParks.

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