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Phoenix, Arizona
Exhibiting the American Indian Boarding School Experience
An image from the “Remembering Our Indian School Days” exhibition at the Heard Museum shows children entering a boarding school designed to assimilate Native Americans. Image courtesy of the Heard Museum.

An image from the “Remembering Our Indian School Days” exhibition at the Heard Museum shows children entering a boarding school designed to assimilate Native Americans. Image courtesy of the Heard Museum.

In 2000, the Heard Museum opened with NEH support what has since become its most visited and thematically powerful exhibition, “Remembering Our Indian School Days.” It was conceived as a 5-year installation that would place archival materials, works of art, video, audio, and interactive technology together in an immersive environment. The exhibit evoked such an enormous response from visitors—nearly doubling the museum’s annual attendance—that it has remained on view as a permanent exhibition. Recently, the NEH has allocated funding to update the now 17-year old installation, incorporating new technologies, stories, and materials. The Heard Museum has also developed two traveling panel exhibits, “Americanizing American Indians” and “Phoenix Indian School,” that bring the boarding school story to schools, community centers, and libraries in the Phoenix metro area.

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