To museum founder Clara Endicott Sears, the setting of Fruitlands was crucial to her vision, and New England regionalism permeated her imagination.
To that end, the museum, which is on Nipmuc territory, was conceived with each subject area presented in a different building. The Native American collection composes the largest proportion of the museum’s holdings and is the sole exception of Sear’s focus on the Nashua River Valley, as it includes art and cultural objects from throughout North America. She built the collection mostly via written correspondence rather than in person, in many cases without the content of the tribes represented.
Building Relationships includes art made and found by European-American settlers, underscoring the reality that the Native American and White settlers have coexisted here, not always peacefully for hundreds of years. It is in the spirit of equity and inclusion that we show the collection together in this exhibition. We celebrate the continuance of the Indigenous peoples, represented in part with a recent acquisition of of artwork by Theresa Secord (Penobscot) and a vase by Hisi Quotskuyva Nampeyo (Hopituh-Shi-nu-mu)
Hisi Quotskuyva Nampeyo