A new exhibition at Old City Hall, “Hidden in the Bundle: A Look Inside the Whatcom Museum’s Basketry Collection,” offers visitors a chance to enjoy a selection of baskets from the Museum’s extensive basketry collection.
“Hidden in the Bundle” features baskets from Native American and First Nations tribes across North America. The baskets represent different eras and cultures and showcase the innovative and even playful elements of design or decoration.
“Each carefully selected grouping of baskets in this exhibit features either a design element unique to a particular culture, provides examples of a form shared by many cultures or highlights the effects of social and political changes at a certain time in history as seen through changes in basketry,” said Rebecca Hutchins, the Whatcom Museum’s Curator of Collections.
Visitors will see woven hats used by Native people in California and the Rocky Mountains, miniature baskets used for ceremonial purposes, children’s toys made by the Coos Bay and Pomo tribes, baleen baskets from the Utqiaġvik area of Alaska, waterproof cornhusk satchels cherished by the Yakama and Salish people of the Columbia River and unique rattle baskets made by the Tlingit weavers for trade.
“There’s something for everyone to enjoy,” said Hutchins, “whether it be the miniature baskets of the Coos Bay and Pomo tribes, the amazing array of hat baskets or the whimsical selection of baskets of surprising shapes and forms made by Native artisans for trade.”
“Hidden in the Bundle” is one of three basketry exhibitions now showing at the Museum campus and will be on display through June 10 at Old City Hall. Visitors are encouraged to explore these creative and practical adaptations while pondering the role of individual expression in the world of basket making.
Christina M. Claassen is Whatcom Museum’s marketing and public relations manager. Reach her at email@example.com.
The non-profit Whatcom Museum is operated by the Whatcom Museum Foundation and the city of Bellingham. The Old City Hall building at 121 Prospect St. and the Lightcatcher Building at 250 Flora St. are open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays to Sundays. The Family Interactive Gallery, located inside the Lightcatcher, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission, good for all sites in a day, is $10 general, $8 youth (6-17 years) and student, senior or military, $5 children (2-5 years). Memberships start at $50 and include free museum admission.
The museum offers a variety of programs and exhibitions about art, nature and Northwest history. Its collections contain more than 200,000 artifacts and art of regional importance, including a photographic archive. The museum is accredited nationally by the American Alliance of Museums and is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate.