Belongings, Archives, & Indigenizing Design with Lorén Spears

Executive Director of Tomaquag Museum, Lorén Spears, Narragansett, shared the history of the Museum as well, as strategies around decolonizing and Indigenizing museum policies and processes, the design of collections and archives within the current museum, and planning for a new museum campus. The program was presented on October 13, 2023 at the Providence Athenaeum in collaboration with the John Carter Brown Library as part of the Expansive Histories of the Early Americans series. Click here for the one hour video.

Lorén M. Spears, enrolled Narragansett Tribal citizen and Executive Director of Tomaquag Museum, holds a Master’s in Education and received a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from the University of Rhode Island for her dedicated work. She is an author, artist, and shares her cultural knowledge through the museum. She began her talk by introducing her team and the Princess Red Wing collection.

In the presentation, Spears covered Hote Casella, the Tomaquag Museum edition of Roger Williams’ Key into the Language of America, and her views of curation policies at museums.

Spears then spoke about how the collection was developed, some of the supporting exhibits that the Museum has sponsored (e.g. Indian Training Schools), and the Museum’s efforts to provide professional development.

The presentation ended with a description of the Museum’s partnerships, the 2020 Institute of Libraries and Museum’s National Medal, and plans for a new Museum on the campus of the University of Rhode Island. Following the presentation, the Q&A portion of the program was moderated by Kim Toney, the John Carter Brown Library Coordinating Curator for Native American and Indigenous Collections.