Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation ethnographic film collection

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAI.AC.001.001
Creators:
Cadzow, Donald A., 1894-1960
Cattell, Owen
Coffin, Edwin F. (Edwin Francis), b. 1883
Ford, James B., 1844-1928
Gilmore, Melvin R. (Melvin Randolph), 1868-1940
Hendricks-Hodge Expedition (1917-1923).
Heye, George G. (George Gustav), 1874-1957
Landini, Louis
Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation
Wildschut, William
Dates:
1917-1938
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
147 motion picture films
25 videocassettes (digital betacam)
58 electronic discs (dvd)
Repository:

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
This collection of films produced and acquired by the Museum of the American Indian (MAI) contains materials created by and for the MAI as ethnographic studies and as documentation of its own activities (including archaeological expeditions and cultural exchanges) between 1917 and 1938. Tribes represented include: Arikara, Crow, Navajo, Pilaga, Pueblo, Shoshone, and Zuni. Also included is footage of Hidatsa representatives and Zuni translators in Washington, D.C. and at the MAI; footage of MAI founder and director George Gustav Heye; and footage of the Hawikku (Hawikuh) and Kechipauan archaeological sites, Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico. The collection consists mainly of successive 16mm and 35mm negative film duplicates and prints of now-destroyed original 35mm nitrate negatives. Series 4 gathers paper records directly pertaining to the collection. Preservation copies of the films exist on 35mm polyester film and Digital Betacam video tape. Access copies are available on DVDs.
The first series in this collection includes film, video, and DVD duplicates of ethnographic films funded, overseen, and filmed by agents of the MAI throughout the Western and Southwestern United States. The second series includes ethnographic films acquired rather than produced by the MAI of the Navajo and Pilaga. The third series consists of film produced by the MAI documenting its own activities, including an excavation at Hawikuh and Kechipauan, New Mexico; footage of MAI founder and director George Gustav Heye; and footage of Native visitors to the MAI and to Washington, D.C.

Arrangement note
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged into four series and chronologically within each series. Included are Series 1: Films Produced by the Museum of the American Indian, 1923-1927; Series 2: Films Acquired by the Museum of the American Indian, 1923-1924; Series 3: Documentation of Museum of the American Indian Activities, 1917-1938; and Series 4: Paper Records of the Ethnographic Film Collection. Titles within subseries are generally arranged alphabetically, with unrestricted titles listed before those restricted due to culturally sensitive content.
Within the collection, each unit of motion picture film (reel, videotape, or DVD) is assigned an identifying number. In this system, the final four appended numbers correspond to a title and a format. The full identifying number will appear as such: NMAI.AC.001.001.XX.YY, where XX corresponds to a numbered title and YY indicates the format of the print, as follows:
01: 35mm print (1917–1938, circa the original film dates)
02: 16mm dupe neg (made circa 1961 from XX.01 35mm)
03: 16mm print (from XX.02 for release, circa 1961)
04: 16mm print (from XX.02 for file/work or research, circa 1961)
05: 35mm dupe neg (preservation copy, made 2012–2014 from XX.01 and XX.02)
06: 35mm answer print (made 2012-2014 from XX.05)
07: Digital Betacam (preservation copy, made 2012-2014 from XX.06)
08, 09, 10 (if applicable): DVD (access copy, made 2012-2014 from XX.06)
11 and up: other copies and prints (see title-level notes for explanations)
Thus, for instance, the item with the number NMAI.AC.001.001.02.03 is the 16mm release print copy of the title "Deerskin Tanning and Wrapping the Leggings."
The content of each print or negative corresponding to the same title (XX) may be identical or similar. The content of the 1917-1938-era 35mm prints and the 1960s-era 16mm films differ. As the 35mm prints had deteriorated, damaged footage was removed prior to producing the 16mm negatives. After the 16mm negatives were produced, nitrate intertitles and additional damaged footage were also removed from the 35mm prints. The 2012-2014-era 35mm films were made by combining the existing 35mm prints with footage from the 16mm negatives in order to restore the most complete existing content to its highest possible quality. The Digital Betacam and DVD copies reproduce this restored footage.
This preservation and restoration effort was made possible by funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation, Save America's Treasures, and the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund, as well as support from the National Museum of the American Indian.

Historical Note
Historical Note
The Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation was founded by George Gustav Heye in 1908 as a repository for his extensive collection of American Indian artifacts. Through the MAI, Heye funded extensive archaeological and anthropological fieldwork throughout the Americas. This collection represents a series of ethnographic films made in the course of MAI expeditions throughout the Western and Southwestern United States, as well as similar films purchased by the museum. The films record a variety of American Indian traditions, including crafts, foodways, games, and ceremonies, and were spurred by the era's perception of Native communities as "fast-disappearing" and vulnerable to dramatic change. The activities recorded range from quotidian to highly culturally sensitive, as followed Heye's all-encompassing collecting strategy.
The MAI's motion picture expeditions took place between 1923 and 1927 and were carried out by a number of agents of the museum, usually in the course of gathering artifacts. Many of these agents were anthropologists accompanied by professional photographers, but other footage is amateur. The MAI treated the series in full as technical educational material, noting in their 1962 motion picture film catalog that "they are not suitable for general entertainment."
The moving image collection of the MAI included these self-produced films as well as similar films purchased by the museum and film shot in the course of the museum's activities, including documentation of archaeological digs, staff, and Native visitors. In 1961-1962, recognizing the educational potential of its collection, the MAI received a grant from the National Science Foundation to transfer the original deteriorating nitrate prints to safety film, discarding film and editing prints in the process. In 2012-2014, the National Museum of the American Indian completed a transfer of the titles to Digital Betacam and DVD formats, combining footage from both original and 1961-1962-era prints to salvage as much content as possible. This work was completed with funding from the National Film Preservation Foundation, Save America's Treasures, and the Smithsonian Collections Care and Preservation Fund.

Administration
Processing Information note
Processed by Annie Schweikert, Archives Intern in 2015.
Existence and Location of Originals note
The film reels, video, and DVDs in this collection are successive duplicates of original 35mm reels made between 1917-1938. The original nitrate reels were presumably discarded in 1961-1962, when they were found to have deteriorated beyond repair. Some 35mm prints made on other stock between 1917-1938 survive within the collection, though with (nitrate) titles removed.
Before being discarded, the original 35mm reels were transferred onto 16mm safety stock by the Museum of the American Indian with a grant from the National Science Foundation. In this process some reels were edited; thus, no full photographic record remains of those original negatives. Known edits are noted at the subseries/title level.
Author
Annie Schweikert

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access note
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday–Thursday, 9:30 am–4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: nmaiarchives@si.edu).
Ceremonial images are restricted due to cultural sensitivity. Consult the archivist for further information.
Conditions Governing Use note
Permission to publish or broadcast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to nmaiarchives@si.edu.
Preferred Citation note
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Museum of the American Indian Ethnographic Film Collection, Call Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.

Custodial History note
Custodial History note
This collection was originally part of the MAI Archives at Audobon Terrace in New York City. Title and custody of the collections were formally transferred to NMAI in 1990. Upon completion of the NMAI Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, MD, the collection was physically transferred to the NMAI Archive Center in 1998.
The materials in Series 1: Films Produced by the Museum of the American Indian, Series 3: Documentation of Museum of the American Indian Activities, and Series 4: Paper Records of the Ethnographic Film Collection were produced by the MAI and its agents, while the material in Series 2: Films Acquired by the Museum of the American Indian was purchased from or presented as a gift by outside agents.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
A:shiwi (Zuni) Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Apsáalooke (Crow/Absaroke) Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Archaeological expeditions Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Archeology -- Hawikuh -- New Mexico Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diné (Navajo) Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ethnological expeditions Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Excavations (Archaeology) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- Antiquities Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- Great Plains Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- Rites and ceremonies Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- Social life and customs Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- Southwest Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of South America Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Minitari (Hidatsa) Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pilagá Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sahnish (Arikara) Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
San Ildefonso Pueblo Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Shoshone Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chaves, Lorenzo Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drags Wolf Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Foolish Bear Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Heye, Thea Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mandan, Arthur Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Waihusiwa Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Museum of the American Indian
4220 Silver Hill Rd
Suitland 20746-2863
nmaiarchives@si.edu
http://nmai.si.edu/explore/collections/archive/