Wigwam to be built inside UMaine museum

Posted July 30, 2010, at 10:07 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — Former Penobscot Nation Chief Barry Dana next week will build an authentic birch bark wigwam inside the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine.

Children from the Boys and Girls Club on Indian Island will assist him, according to museum director Gretchen Faulkner.

The wigwam will become the centerpiece of the museum’s Maine Indian Gallery, she said. It will be the only indoor wigwam in the state.

Construction will begin Monday morning and is scheduled to conclude Wednesday.

Building a wigwam reinforces his own connection to the past, Dana said in a press release issued earlier this week.

“To me, the wigwam is a teaching tool from my ancestors,” he said. “It gives me a chance to talk with other people who value it. We’ve always said these things are important and we should continue them.”

Wigwams can range in size, Dana said, from a small camping tent to a gymnasium, depending on their purpose.

The Hudson Museum wigwam will be nearly full size, about 8½ feet in diameter and 7 feet high, according to Faulkner.

Children and adults will be able to enter the structure and move around in it, she said. Objects, including snowshoes, birch bark containers and baskets that have been used by Penobscot Indians over the centuries, will be displayed along with the wigwam,

The project was funded by grants from the Maine Arts Commission, the Maine Humanities Council and the Renee Minsky Fund.

The Hudson Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. It is closed Sundays and holidays.

For more information, call 581-1901.

On the Web: www.umaine.edu/hudsonmuseum

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