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, U.Va.

The Fralin is open Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free. Click here for hours. Please note, second floor galleries (including Earthly Exemplars) will be closed through February 3 during exhibition changeover. The museum will be closed to the public on Saturday, February 11.

The Fralin follows current UVA COVID-19 guidelines.

From Alaska to the Mountain Peaks of Central Mexico - Depicting Native American Life in the Late Nineteenth Century

06/07/2013 to 08/04/2013
Curated by Mary Jo Ayers, Adjunct Curator of Native American Art, and Diane Boucher, Guest Curator

This exhibition considers the ways in which photographers and artists represented Native American life in the late nineteenth century, a period in which the culture of these indigenous peoples was rapidly disappearing. Photographers documented what they believed to be a "dying" culture, while painters and sculptors romanticized the American Indian in a desire to portray an essential part of American history.

The majority of photographs in the exhibition were taken by official photographers and ethnologists working for the Bureau of American Ethnology during field trips to tribal areas. Copies were later obtained from the Bureau to decorate the Indian Grill Room at New York's Hotel Astor, which opened in 1904.

The Grill Room was an unusual, if not unique, combination of restaurant and ethnographic museum. It was divided into eight sections, each containing artifacts relating to a quasi-scientific linguistic group of American Indian tribes. The photographs, which were set into wooden paneling, reinforced the narrative by portraying everyday life, family groups, formal portraits, and the rituals of the tribes. Following its closure in 1937, both the artifacts and photographs were donated to the University of Virginia by Nancy, Lady Astor, and later accessioned by the Museum.

The Fralin Museum of Art's programming is made possible by the generous support of The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.

The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of Arts$, Albemarle Magazine, and Ivy Publications LLC's Charlottesville Welcome Book.

Summer 2013

Museum Hours

Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 10 am – 5 pm
Wednesday: 10 am – 5 pm
Thursday: 10 am – 5 pm 
Friday: 10 am – 8 pm 
Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm (Please note, the museum will be closed to the public on Saturday, February 11.)
Sunday: 12 pm – 5 pm

The museum is closed on the following holidays: New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.