National Native Museum Training Program

Background and Goals of the National Native Museum Training Program

Tribal museums have the mission of preserving, perpetuating, and revitalizing the cultural and historic heritage of native peoples.  Museum professionals must have substantial knowledge and high levels of expertise to enable tribal museums to play their essential role in the transmitting of native culture from one generation to the next and in the education of the American public.  
NATHPO created the National Native Museum Training Program to benefit tribal museums and the people they serve based on a demonstrated need and is an outgrowth and response to the IMLS-funded study, “Tribal Museums in America.”  

Goals of this four-year initiative are to provide a variety of training opportunities for established tribal museum directors and existing and future tribal museum personnel that will prepare them to achieve their mission.  Program activities will also extract best practice methods that will be shared throughout the museum profession.  These goals will be achieved by the following objectives and major activities:

  • Expand the knowledge and skills of museum leaders by convening tribal museum directors in a seminar setting so that they can discuss and learn about current issues and solutions in the areas of funding sustainability and community engagement (two seminars).

  • Increase the capacity of tribal museums to serve their community by administering four museum workshops on topics tailored to the needs of tribal museums in the areas of:  interpretation, education, collections care; and, conservation.

  • Increase the number of trained native museum professionals in the museum field by administering a fellowship program for up to 20 existing and/or future tribal museum personnel at Native and non-Native museums throughout the country.

Completed Seminars and Workshops:

Title: "Development & Cultivation of Community Support for Tribal Museums”
Location:  The Huhugam Heritage Center, which is operated by the Gila River Indian Community in Chandler, Arizona
Instructor:  Margaret Kadoyama
Date:  December 4-6, 2008
Click here to see pictures from the seminar

Title:  “Telling Our History I: Exhibition Development”
Location:  The Barona Cultural Center & Museum in Lakeside, California.
Instructor:  Karl Hoerig
Date: February 8-13, 2009
click here to see pictures from the seminar

Title:  “Caring for Our History: Managing Museum Collections”
Location:  The Suquamish Indian Tribe’s Clearwater Casino Resort in Suquamish, Washington
Instructor:  Gloria Lomahaftewa
Date:  March 8-13, 2009
click here to see pictures from the seminar

Title:  “Caring for Our History: Museum Conservation Basics”
Location:  The Mohegan Tribe’s, “Tantaquidgeon Museum,” in Uncasville, Connecticut
Instructor:  Helen Alten
Date:  The week of July 13, 2009
click here to see pictures from the seminar

Title:  Telling Our History II: Museum Education and Public Programs”
Location:  Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways, which is operated by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
Date:  November 1-6, 2009

Title:  "Funding Strategies and Stabilization for Tribal Museums"
Location:  'Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo, Hawaii
Instructors:  Laurie Wolf and Annette Evans Smith
Date:  December 7-9, 2009

Title: "NA222: Care of Photographs"
Location: online at
Instructor: Gawain Weaver
Date: February 22, 2010 through May 1, 2010

Title: "NA254: Introduction to Tribal Museum Shop Management"
Location: online at
Instructors: Karl Hoerig and Helen Alten
Date:  Apr 26 - May 21, 2010

Title: "NA255: Dangerous Materials: Chemical Poisons in Native American and Ethnographic Artifacts"
Location: online at
Instructor: Nancy Odegaard
Date: Oct 4 - Oct 29, 2010

Title: "2010 Exhibits Workshop"

Location:  The Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona
Instuctors: Manuelito Wheeler and Karl Hoerig
Date: November 8-12, 2010

Title: "NA256: Establishing a Tribal Museum"
Location: online at
Instructors: Stacey Halfmoon and Claudia Nicholson
Date: May 31-June 25, 2011

Title: "NA107: Introduction to Museum Security"
Location: online at
Instructors: Stevan P. Layne
Date: February 4 - March 1, 2013

Title: "NA101: Basics of Collections Management and Native American Military Collections"
Location: online at
Instructor: Peggy Schaller
Date: March 4 - 29, 2013


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