Mitchell's Native American Collection
Arthur Mitchell collected many Native American items throughout his lifetime and he often visited reservations throughout the West and Southwest taking photos, sketching and talking with individuals and groups. He amassed a large collection of pottery and artifacts as did his sister, Ethel Erickson, who donated everything to the museum after his passing. Mitchell photographed the vanishing Southwest culture from 1910 and into his later years with the eyes of an artist. The museum's collection of Native American pottery includes items from Tesuque, Santa Clara, San Idelfonso, San Juan and Taos among others as well as Navajo rugs, weavings and many utilitarian implements that Mitchell found absolutely irresistible. Beaded moccasins, belts and other items were used as reference material for his paintings with each item representing the tribe he was painting not just Native Americans as a whole. He made meticulous notes about many of the objects describing their use or meaning or why they were important to the people who gave them to him.