The Heritage Center collection began with the purchase of three prize-winning pieces from the Red Cloud Indian Art Show in 1969, and has grown today to include nearly 10,000 pieces of the Native American contemporary and historical Lakota art (all recently catalogued thanks to generous funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the Bush Foundation). The collection includes paintings, textiles, traditional art, historical items, pottery and sculpture, as well as a library and historical archives.
The Heritage Center’s collecting priorities focus on historical Lakota art and on all Native American contemporary fine arts, which makes it unique from many other Native museums and cultural centers that focus locally or regionally. The collection covers over four decades of contemporary work and pieces of Lakota material culture as old as the early 1800s.
As one of the earliest and most successful cultural centers and museums located on an Indian reservation, The Heritage Center continues to be a model and source of inspiration for others due to its efforts to support a diverse number of audiences and stakeholders through an extraordinary focus on Native artists.
A top 10 great place to visit
In acknowledgement of The Heritage Center’s activities, Helen Maynor Scheirbeck, a senior advisor for museum programs at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., included the Center as one of the top 10 “great places to honor American Indian life” in an article in USA Today.