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The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian announced plans to reopen to visitors on Saturday, Aug. 14, with a special reopening celebration for invited guests, including Museum members, supporters, Native American community members, and elected officials from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 12 to celebrate this milestone.
Visitors are invited to view two new attractions, a new exhibit on repatriation and the unveiling of a seven-foot-high bronze sculpture by nationally recognized artist Cliff Fragua. The sculpture, called “Child of the Clouds,” is the latest work of art to be added to the Mitchell Museum, one of North America’s most important Indigenous collections. The Museum has been closed for over a year due to the pandemic.
“We are very excited the day has come that we can welcome our community back to the Mitchell Museum to reconnect in person with our extraordinary collections and experience the beauty of our new installation, Child of the Clouds,” said Mary L. Smith Interim Executive Director. “In this time of racial reckoning, there is a renewed interest in the indigenous peoples of North America, and the Mitchell Museum is one of only a handful of independent museums in the country where visitors can learn about the past, present, and vibrant future of indigenous peoples.”
Child of the Clouds
A member of the Jemez Pueblo tribe, Fragua is an internationally acclaimed sculptor known for his graceful work in stone and bronze. He has received the most prestigious commission for sculptures in the United States, representing the state of New Mexico in the National Statuary Hall in Washington D.C with his marble sculpture of Po’pay, the leader of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt against the Spaniards. Child of the Clouds is a seven-foot-high bronze statue that shows the beauty, power and grace of both the artist and his culture. It will be unveiled on Reopening Night and shown to the public for the first time.
The Mitchell Museum is pleased to open its new Repatriation Exhibit, Reclaiming Cultural Treasures, to the public for the first time. Every week, news headlines around the world report new requests for the return of stolen cultural patrimony and ancestral remains from countries on every continent. For indigenous peoples of the U.S., the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 outlines how tribes can request the return of their ancestors’ remains and sacred materials. While there are stories of success like the return of Chief Red Cloud’s eagle feather bonnet in 2020, there are also barriers to be broken down by shining a light on these thefts. This exhibit opens the door to the challenges of repatriation and its impacts.
“In reopening, our first priority is the safety of our visitors and staff, so we are following the guidelines of the [Centers for Disease Control], the State of Illinois, and the City of Evanston and enacting new policies to keep everyone healthy,” says Smith. “We’re doing everything we can to make visiting the museum a safe, stress-free experience.”
Beginning on Aug. 14, the Mitchell Museum will be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with plans to eventually open additional days per week.
For more information regarding this event, reservations, membership, and the Museum’s new safety protocols, please visit https://mitchellmuseum.org/.