Noord-Amerika en poolgebieden - Museum Volkenkunde
Permanent exhibition

North America and North American Arctic

Polar bear trousers and feather headdresses

Step into the daily life of North America’s indigenous peoples. The panoramic wall projections of several metres wide bring the objects to life. Marvel at the axes of the Sioux, the pottery art of the Pueblos and the Navajos’ magnificent jewellery. All these objects have their own stories of tradition and ceremony to tell.

The Comanche headdress

The most iconic object of all is undoubtedly the impressive Comanche headdress. Feather headdresses are commonly associated with the indigenous peoples of North America. But in reality, these headdresses were only worn by a few inhabitants of the Great Plains. Men would be gifted an eagle’s feather as a reward for bravery in battle. So only the bravest of all would have amassed enough feathers to make a headdress such as this. The Comanche headdress in the museum numbers fifty eagle feathers. The feathers of other birds have been added for decoration, alongside tufts of painted horsehair, strips of ermine and coloured beads.


Noord-Amerikazaal, Museum Volkenkunde

This gallery also features the coldest regions around the North Pole. See here how the inhabitants of the frozen north were masters in the art of survival. They knew how to utilize everything the natural world around them had to offer – literally nothing was left unused. They fashioned waterproof shoes and coats by stitching together salmon skins. And have you ever come across an anorak made from entrails before?

If you want to view the online collection from Oceania and the regions around the North Pole, click here.