A photo of the The National Museum of the American Indian building, shown from the outside.

The National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC location.
Photo credit: Cvandyke / Shutterstock

Last Friday, the Obama administration ordered an immediate halt on the Dakota Access Pipeline, marking a major (albeit temporary) victory for Native Americans. But if there’s one thing that the Dakota Access Pipeline proves, it’s that Native Americans are still being pushed off their land and brutally attacked. Native American tribes have always sought to protect their lands and culture against would-be interlopers. The National Museum of the American Indian is just one method that tribes use to preserve their art, culture, and history for future generations.

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has two locations—one in Washington, DC and the other in New York, NY. The museum hosts a variety of creative and educational programs, including: art exhibitions, films, music performances, dance recitals, and symposiums. Admission is free.

As a constituent of the Smithsonian Institution, the NMAI preserves precious Native American artifacts ranging from woodcarvings to photographs to archival records. But the impact of their services extends far beyond that. The NMAI has an “Art Leadership Program” that allows indigenous artists to study, examine, and give voice to the numerous artistic contributions made by Native Americans. Participants will have access to Smithsonian archives and will be given the opportunity to speak on panels related to social justice issues.

NMAI also has a Curatorial Residency Program for entry-level Native Americans who are interested in pursing museum careers. The program is a six-to-nine-month paid position. Selected candidates will work alongside the Museum Scholarship Group and/or the Collections Management Services.

In addition to these opportunities, NMAI also offers a training program for other museums and cultural centers. The Museum Training Program is a nationally acclaimed educational service led by industry experts. Professional curators offer tips, guidance, and advice on how to increase visitor traffic, rotate displays, and preserve sacred materials. The program offers workshops, museum and repository research, and technical assistance.