The Hutchings Museum-Institute hosted a presentation Friday highlighting its new technologies for Native American culture and language preservation.
The museum will now use lidar, photo restoration, document retrieval, virtual reality, 3D modeling and more, all with the goal of not only helping to preserve Native American culture and language, but also to make them more accessible.
Thanks to this new technology, people around the world will be able to view the Hutchings Museum and Institute Native American Exhibit anytime online. Visitors to the museum’s website can explore the Native American exhibit in 3D and examine the artifacts through 3D modeling.
According to Daniela Larsen, executive director of the Hutchings Museum-Institute, they decided to make changes to the museum’s Native American exhibit after she began to think the museum had only one side of the story.
âWe have a lot of third and fourth grade tours that come into the museum, and as we teach the Native American room and have listened to this presentation over and over again, it’s really obvious, even to us, that we are ‘recounting one side of the story, âLarsen said. “So reaching out and trying to get that involvement so that you can tell all sides of the story has become a work in progress.”
When the museum closed due to COVID-19, Larsen felt it was the perfect time for the museum to not only undertake a big project, but also to put one of its exhibits online.
A symposium followed the unveiling of the new technology, starting with a hoop dance performed by Patrick Willie, a world champion hoop dancer and member of the Navajo Nation. According to Willie, the hoop dance he performed represented the eagle, and the gradual increase in the number of hoops he used represented an individual’s progression through life.
Larry Cesspooch, a Vietnam veteran and member of the Ute tribe, spoke about the importance of cultural preservation and digitization. Cesspooch worked with the Hutchings Museum-Institute to help identify artifacts and petroglyphs.
âI am very happy to be connected with Daniela and the group,â said Cesspooch. âI’m really happy to do all of this with them, it’s a learning experience. “
The unveiling took place at the Megaplex Theaters at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, and included a screening of the documentary “What Was Ours”.
The 2016 documentary tells the story of a former Eastern Shoshone and two young members of the Northern Arapaho tribe living on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. The three find their purpose in trying to recover artifacts that have been taken from their tribes and stored or displayed in museums. The film puts into perspective the difficulties encountered by the Amerindians in trying to preserve their culture and recover elements that may have been lost.
To see “What Was Ours” and explore new technologies for cultural preservation, visit the Hutchings Museum-Institute website.