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Museum of Indian Culture

Museum of Indian Culture

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Museum of Indian Culture
Former name Lenni Lenape Historical Society/Museum of Indian Culture
Established 1980
Location 2825 Fish Hatchery Road
Allentown, Pennsylvania USA
Coordinates 40°34′22″N 75°30′16″W / 40.572762°N 75.504313°W / 40.572762; -75.504313
Type Cultural
Director Pat Rivera
Curator Lee Hallman
Website www.museumofindianculture.org

The Museum of Indian Culture is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization[1] and educational center. Founded in 1980, it is dedicated to presenting, preserving, and perpetuating the history of the Lenape and other Northeastern Woodland Indian cultures.[2] The Museum of Indian Culture is located in the Lehigh Parkway at 2825 Fish Hatchery Road in Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

The museum was founded by Dorothy Schiavone and her daughter, Carla Messinger. The building in which the museum is located is a historic Pennsylvania German stone farm house and two-story stone spring house built by the Bieber family around 1750.[3]


The Museum of Indian Culture was originally founded as the Lenni Lenape Historical Society/Museum of Indian Culture in 1980, the oldest exclusively Native American museum in Pennsylvania, with a focus on educating Pennsylvanians on the state's indigenous people.[4] In 2005 the museum was renamed.[4][5] The museum has diversified by including exhibits from tribes across the western hemisphere.

After a change in administration in 2003, the museum sought to improve community relations between local federal government and federally recognized Native American tribes. In 2007, under the management of Oklahoma Delawares, the museum altered its former mission, and announced an interest in pursuing what it saw as fraudulence by groups claiming to be indigenous Pennsylvanians.[5] Today, the museum serves as a tool to help with Native American research and as way to educate people on Native American tribes. The museum hosts festivals, offers tours and community outreach programs for schools to educate and bring a presence of Native American Culture to the Lehigh valley.[4]


The Museum of Indian Culture houses a diverse collection of Native American items, including stone tools, ceramics, carvings, photographs, weapons, beadwork, and basketry.[6] Artifacts originate from across North America and include a Californian Hupa basket collection, a Mexican Aztec ceremonial clothing display, and a stone tool assortment from a Delaware Indian tribe in Pennsylvania.[6] One focus of the collection is the set of artefacts discovered by amateur archeologists Frank Sterling, Paul Delgrego, and W. W. Venney, who stumbled across the Broomall Rock Shelters after finding a skeleton in one of them. More than 3,000 years ago, Lenape Indians had sought protection from the cold and rain in these shelters.[7] An exhibit at the museum features artifacts from the shelters.[6]

See also


  1. ^ "Memberships". Museum of Indian Culture. Retrieved 24 October 2017. 
  2. ^ Museum of Indian Culture/History About Us, retrieved 2008-06-17 
  3. ^ Troy, Liz (April 27, 1998), "Lenni Lenape Society Trying To Save Little Lehigh Parkway Springhouse.", The Morning Call, pp. D.1 
  4. ^ a b c "Museum of Indian Culture". Museum of Indian Culture. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  5. ^ a b Minderhout, David J.; Frantz, Andrea T. (2008-06-01). "The museum of Indian culture and Lenape identity". Museum Management and Curatorship. 23 (2): 119–133. doi:10.1080/09647770802012011. ISSN 0964-7775. 
  6. ^ a b c "Exhibits & Collections". Museum of Indian Culture. Retrieved 24 October 2017. 
  7. ^ Zagofsky, Al. "The mystery of 2 Lenape rock shelters". tnonline.com. Retrieved 24 October 2017. 

External links

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