Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Margaret Lindauer


This thesis constructs the cultural biography of the National Museum of the American Indian’s Stockbridge-Munsee tote, a twentieth-century souvenir craft, in order to examine the tote’s cultural and cross-cultural associated meanings and how these associated meanings shift from one context to another. It follows the tote’s history including its production, purchase, and transfer. This thesis briefly recounts the Stockbridge-Munsee Indians’ history and focuses on a few examples of craft objects produced prior to the 1960s, when the Stockbridge-Munsee tote was made. Wisconsin Indian Craft, a craft cooperative formed in the 1960s, produced objects such as the Stockbridge-Munsee tote. This tote, along with seventeen other Wisconsin Indian Craft souvenirs, was purchased by the Department of the Interior Indian Arts and Crafts Board in 1964 and transferred to the National Museum of the American Indian’s collection in 2000. This thesis analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of the inclusion of the Stockbridge-Munsee tote in the National Museum of the American Indian’s collection. From constructing the Stockbridge-Munsee tote’s cultural biography, this thesis concludes that the tote’s associated meanings do not merely shift from context to context. Rather, these associated meanings build upon one another to create layers of coexisting associated meanings.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2010