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Moon Metal and Mounds

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"North American Indians have no tradition of silver mining," notes Mitchell Museum of the American Indian director Janice Klein. Everything on display in "Silver," the museum's new exhibit of 300 years of Native American silver craftsmanship, was "made from sheet metal obtained from non-Natives or recycled from coins, medals, or other objects." Beginning with 18th-century ornaments made by Europeans or colonials and given to tribal leaders as gifts, the show traces the development of Native American silver work in the northeast, Great Plains, and southwest, and includes many early pieces made of a copper, nickel, and zinc alloy called trade silver. Besides items from the Mitchell's collection, the exhibit includes work on loan from the Field Museum and private collectors. Also at the museum this Sunday, September 28, part-time historian Fred Christensen will lecture on an older aspect of Native American culture: the Cahokia Mounds, near Collinsville. Constructed as burial sites and as platforms for palaces and temples, the mounds contained evidence of spectacular funerals--including one person laid to rest atop 20,000 beads arranged in the shape of a bird. The talk starts at 1; "Silver" continues through January 11. The museum is at 2600 Central Park Avenue in Evanston. Hours are 10 to 5 Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday; 10 to 8 Thursday; and noon to 4 Sunday. There's a suggested donation of $5 for adults; $2.50 for seniors, students, and kids; and $10 for families. Call 847-475-1030.

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