The art of Cyrus Dallin (1861-1944), a celebrated Utah-born sculptor, educator, and Indigenous rights activist who lived and worked in Arlington, Massachusetts for over forty years, is on display in his home town. The Cyrus Dallin Art Museum is located in the historic Jefferson Cutter House at 611 Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington Center. In the intimate setting of the Cyrus Dallin Art Museum, visitors experience over ninety artworks spanning the sculptor’s sixty-year career.
Enjoy a self-guided, room-by-room tour of the Dallin Museum from anywhere! Works on exhibit include rare master plasters, original bronze casts, prototypes of public monuments and memorials, and coins, medals, and paintings. The Museum’s comprehensive exhibits ground Dallin’s unique body of work within the context of his commitment to artistic expression, education, and Indigenous rights, including his best known work at Plymouth, MA. Click on this link for a four-minute video about his Chief Massasoit sculpture and here for a two-minute video by Dallin Museum Group Tour Coordinator, Nancy Blanton.
(Above) A plaster sketch shows Pokanoket Massasoit Ousamequin meeting with Governor Carver in 1621. Cyrus Dallin believed that America was not living up to its ideal as a beacon of democracy. “If [Americans] are to retain our self-respect and continue to hold our place in the world,” he said, “we must admit our faults and mistakes and do our utmost to make up for them.”
Sculpture for Justice (see above) is a 58-minute presentation on his work with Indigenous people . Dallin spent the last 20 years of his career fiercely criticizing American Imperialism and passionately advocating for the rights of Indigenous peoples. He sought out many opportunities to educate white audiences on the truth of history and their own “complacency and self-righteousness.” “We have dishonored ourselves, distorted facts, and turned the Indian from a friend to a foe,” said Dallin in a 1921 speech in Lowell, Mass. “Then we have fought him, with immeasurably superior numbers and arms…Never in the history of nations, in all probability, has there been so strong a race prejudice as subsists in the Anglo Saxons.”
“Dr. Cyrus E. Dallin, a sculptor who has done more to perpetuate the red man in his characteristic poses as hunter, warrior, medicine man and at workmanship than any other living man – a true friend and one whom we honor and respect. Great is Dallin!”
Chief LeRoy Perry, Aquinnah Wampanoag, 1925
Click on the link for a video of Cyrus Dallin’s Tributes to this Land’s Indigenous Peoples
Click on the link for a video of Ute Elder Forrest Cuch on History and Healing
Click here for a 63-minute video on “Native American Archaeology and Culture: The First People of Arlington” with Ellen Berkland and Massachusetts Chief Faries Gray