Collections

The MSU Museum serves as a public steward for historical and cultural objects and materials documenting traditional culture of Michigan and the Great Lakes region, as well as the home natural science, archaeological, and cultural collections from around the world. These collections are used for research, education, and exhibition projects.

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African American Quilt Collection
The documentation project and the collection of quilts reveals a wide range of individual styles and traditions of quilting designs, construction techniques, and uses within Michigan's African-American communities. This breadth provided an opportunity to examine major controversies in African-American quilt scholarship -- the issues of African survivals in African-American material culture and whether or not there exists a 'typical African-American' quilt.
Michigan Heritage Awards Collection
The Michigan Heritage Awards collections contain documentation on each of the recipients. Included are archival holdings (nomination forms, news clippings, recorded interviews, photographs, slides, recorded performances) and examples of their work (for example, black ash baskets, Ukrainian and Polish eggs, quillboxes, feather bowling balls, boats, quilts, birch bark cutouts, rag rugs).
Fusfeld Folk Art Collection
Dr. Daniel and Harriet Fusfeld of Ann Arbor, Michigan first began collecting art in the 1960s when they were in graduate school in New York City. Over the years they focused on folk and outsider art with a special interest in items from the Great Lakes region, those made by women, and those whose subject matter was religion or occupational activity. In some cases the Fusfelds acquired pieces directly from the artists but most of their collection was acquired from antique or folk art dealers around the country, including some of the best known galleries in New York.
Great Lakes Indian Dance Regalia Project Collection
Pow wows are important Native American social and cultural gatherings, of which music and dance are integral parts. Regalia, the apparel worn by dancers, includes headdresses, bustles, jewelry, sashes, dresses, shirts, leggings, shawls, and a variety of handheld items.

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The repository of objects and materials documenting the traditional culture of Michigan houses archival and fieldwork research completed by staff, students, contracted consultants, and donations from individuals. The collections also contain comparative materials from all over the world. 3,000 objects, over 4,000 audio tapes of interview and musical performances, 85,000 photographic images, 3,000 fieldwork reports, and vertical files of reference materials on a variety of folklife subjects make up the collections.

Special attention is also given to collecting materials from annual Michigan Heritage Awardees and participants in the Great Lakes Folk Festival and the Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. The Michigan Traditional Arts Program staff strives to include community representatives in the planning process of projects or programs that result in the development of collections.

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