There are over 1400 items listed for North America with material coming from the Arctic, Subarctic, Northwest Coast and Plains regions. There are also objects from other parts of the USA but they are few in number. They can be found in the World Cultures gallery alongside RAMM's very own crest pole (totem) called Ilchinik, which was carved in 1998.
Highlights from this important collection include material obtained on some of the early voyages of exploration such as those of Captain Cook. One example is a very fine 18th century Nuu-chah-nulth whalebone club, collected at Nootka Sound between 1776 and 1780.
Among the most significant elements of the collection are the regalia of Crowfoot, or Issapumahsika, Siksika leader of the Blackfoot nation at the time of the signing of Treaty 7. A detailed list of this material can be found on World Cultures Online.
RAMM also boasts a fine collection from Central and South America, which not only includes Peruvian ceramics but also interesting textiles. One example is a late 18th century leather coat from Mexico, which is colonial-styled and embroidered with silk thread. There are also contemporary traditional costumes from Guatemala and Oaxaca, Mexico that were made using natural and synthetic dyes.
Material from Amazonia consists of approximately 500 items and includes an early bird’s wing bone apron that was acquired in the 19th century and an Achuar feather tunic from Ecuador, obtained in the 1950s.
Woven textiles from Oaxaca, Mexico and the highlands of Guatemala have come to Exeter through a number of recent donations. Certainly most of this material was made by women using a traditional backstrap loom. This old tradition continues today as a means of generating income and to promote cultural identity.
One notable item is a Mixtec wrap-around skirt that incorporates hiladillo, or cochineal-dyed silk, a dark blue cotton dyed with indigo and a lilac cotton that was dyed using the secretion of a shellfish (purpura). This is harder to obtain than the conventional modern dyes that are so easily found in the markets.