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Turning the Wheel of Life

by AVA News Service, June 2, 2014

‘Woven Worlds’ illuminates past, present of Mendocino County native peoples.

On Saturday, June 21, the Mendocino County Museum will welcome all to a reception for “Woven Worlds,” a permanent exhibit celebrating the Native American heritage of Mendocino County. The free reception, from 1 to 4 pm, will feature dancers, samples of traditional foods and an opportunity to experience the exhibit and meet the exhibit’s designers.

The displays include an interactive map of traditional tribal homelands, language samples, games, a seasonal round and historic videos. A wall-sized photo mural highlights the natural environment shared by Native residents and visitors to the county. A timeline illustrates changes and transformations of Indian life and history through photographs and primary source documents. Baskets and basketry techniques can be experienced at a weaving kiosk that allows visitors to try their hands at various weaving techniques.

The exhibit, curated by local ethnohistorian Dr. Victoria Patterson, with the support of design team Kiersten Hanna Frey, Addison Moore and Janet Rayner, uses artifacts from the Mendocino County Museum’s collection to showcase the County’s Native American culture, which forms the bedrock of our common history. Patterson was honored to be tasked with this project. “What inspires me greatly is the spiritual and cultural survival of local tribes through very difficult times and the strong sense of ongoing Native pride.”

Museum Director Alison Glassey stressed the importance of the “Woven Worlds” exhibit for the Museum and for the County as a whole. “The history of Native peoples is woven throughout Mendocino County history. Tribal cultures and communities are an enduring part of our local story, and our future.” Glassey adds that the Museum is planning a series of events related to the exhibit through the rest of this year.

The Mendocino County Museum is located at 400 East Commercial Street in Willits. The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 am to 4:30 pm. For more information, please call 459-2736 or visit www.MendocinoMuseum.org

— Paloma Patterson, 707-459-2736

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