Staff Pick from the National Museum of the American Indian

To mark American Indian Heritage Month this year, staff members from the Photo Archive at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), filled us in on the history of the collections  recently made available on the NMAI Collections Search website. As a follow-up, they are sharing their personal favorites from the archive. Today we hear from Emily Moazami, Photo Technician.

Studio portrait of Crow delegation. Front row, left to right: King Crow; Medicine Crow; Long Elk; Ch

When I was asked to select a favorite image from NMAI’s Photo Archives, the first thing that popped into my head was the process of cataloging images, rather than a specific image. This photograph of the Crow delegation to Washington, DC in 1880 represents why I love working with historic photographs. So many images in the collection, as with this photo, were originally cataloged with minimal descriptions like “men” or “group.”  However, through research we are sometimes able to put names to faces, attribute photographers and dates, and put the photographs in context - information which tells part of the photographs' rich history and brings them to life.

The National Museum of the American Indian holds a diverse photograph collection of over 90,000 historic images which range from daguerreotypes to digital images, and is considered one of the most significant collections of American Indian images.

Emily Moazami is the Photo Technician of Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

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