By Kate Macuen, Collections Manager
Did you know that museums and collecting institutions are only able to display a small percentage of their collections at a time? Space, resources, and the fact that many artifacts cannot stay on exhibit for long periods of time due to preservation constraints are a few of the reasons behind this sometimes frustrating visitor experience. Many museums have made creative efforts to increase a visitor’s access and to share their vast collections through open storage solutions, collection tours, and online exhibitions.
The Tribal Historic Preservation Office has been working hard on trying to increase access into the Tribe’s archaeological collections. Currently, we do not have permanent exhibit space on campus, and although we are working on the development of future exhibitions, we realized there is a need to open our vault doors.
Starting in January, the THPO Collections staff launched a new online program called Artifact of the Month. It’s a way for us to highlight unique and interesting artifacts in the collections that visitors would not normally get to see. At the beginning of each month, a new artifact is chosen and displayed on the THPO’s website and the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum’s Facebook page. The object’s photograph is accompanied by a description and history. In addition, our online visitors will also be able to browse through previous months’ artifacts. The selection process is simple. Artifacts that help tell the in-depth story of Seminole culture and history will be presented and of course staff favorites will be highlighted now and again!
By this summer we hope to expand this program by installing an exhibit case in our Archaeological and Conservation Laboratory to display each month’s featured artifact. Our Laboratory can be viewed by visitors through the Observation hallway, which is part of the mile long boardwalk at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.
For more information and to check out this month’s featured artifact please visit us at