In 1995, the Fenimore Art Museum embarked upon a new era with the addition of a spectacular new American Indian Wing designed to house the extraordinary gift from Eugene and Clare Thaw of their collection of American Indian Art. The collection has continued to grow as new objects are added by the Thaws and other donors, and today numbers almost 850 objects. Each new object reaffirms the Thaws’ commitment to the beauty and artistry of American Indian art, and thus strengthens the philosophical foundation of the collection: that the aesthetic power of American Indian art is equivalent to that from any culture.
The collection is representative of a broad geographic range of North American Indian cultures including: Northwest Coast, Woodlands, Plains, Southwest, Arctic, California, and Great Basin regions.
The collection can be seen in changing galleries and in the Study Center, an open storage space. Since acquiring the Thaw collection, Fenimore Art Museum has reached new audiences by touring exhibitions, hosting symposiums, publishing new research, and collaborating with American Indian curators and specialists for Museum programs and exhibitions.