The Oshkosh Public Museum pipe collection includes examples of many different styles of pipes ranging in age from the first centuries BC to the 20th century. They are representative of the evolution of Native American pipes from simple tubes to elaborately decorated calumets. Within the collection are pre-contact styles that have been found over wide geographic regions indicative of the diffusion of beliefs, customs, artifact types and people. When Europeans encountered American Indians and learned of their use of tobacco, they not only began the practice of smoking tobacco themselves but also mass produced pipes for trade with Native Americans.
The Oshkosh Public Museum pipe collection is displayed in the five exhibits to your left. The first exhibit encompasses all the pipes from the collection and is organized by type and ordered generally from the most recent to the oldest. The remainder of the exhibits focus upon certain attributes of some of the pipes from the collection: designs on the pipes; archaeological sites from which the pipes were collected; pipes for which we have record of a previous owner or tribal affiliation; and the person who collected the pipes.
Most of the collection was originally cataloged by Arthur P. Kannenberg (1887-1945), curator of archaeology at the museum from 1924 until his death. His records reflect the Euro-American ethnocentric bias of many early 20th century archaeologists. This bias is often manifested in condescending remarks regarding Native Americans. These remarks are quoted in the exhibits but are not reflective of current museum staff sentiment.
You may view and search an individual exhibit by clicking on its image at left or search all the exhibits at once by clicking on the "Search" button below.