Thursday, March 22, 2012

Donating to the Smithsonian Institution

     I attended the annual Oasis Gift Show in Albuquerque yesterday. A source of delight there for me was finally meeting up with Tommy Singer, a very affable and spirited character.    We exchanged cards and he invited me out to see his home and silversmith shop on the reservation in the town of Dilkon, Arizona located on reservation land within the area of the Hopi Buttes volcanic field.     
   One jewelry exhibitor at the show had a spectacular piece of contemporary Navajo jewelry he wants to donate to the Smithsonian collection.   I agreed to make a photograph and submit a formal donation proposal.   In preparation, I reviewed the online database of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.    Of note, I found that Tommy Singer has 5 jewelry pieces in the museum archives. I also tried unsuccessfully to find the tobacco case from Dr. Washington Matthew's 1880 report to the Smithsonian. Perhaps, the actual silver tobacco case was never submitted and we are left only with this pictorialization.
Navajo Tobacco Case made in the Shape of an Army Canteen
 circa 1880
Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology
 to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1880-1881