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Mining the Museum: Cigar store Indians facing portraits of community members of American Indian descent


The image depicts works on display in "Mining the Museum," a 1992-1993 installation by artist Fred Wilson at the Maryland Historical Society. In Mining the Museum, Wilson used the museum's collections to confront and challenge perceptions about history, culture, and race. It was a joint exhibition with The Contemporary in Baltimore. The items on display in this image include five wood-carved cigar store Indians facing a wall of portraits of members of the local community who are of Native American descent. The sculptural stereotypical depictions of Indians stand with their backs to the viewers and instead face the "real" American Indians whose portraits hang on the wall. In this tableau, the wooden sculptures serve as "portraits" of the cigar store owners who chose to display these sculptures outside their stores.




Contributor(s) Notes

Photographer: Maryland Historical Society Museum; Artist: Fred Wilson


Collection Number

MS 2008


35 mm

Object ID

MTM 004


1 slide

Resource ID


Digital Publisher

Digital resource provided by the Maryland Center for History and Culture


This digital image is made available here for private study, scholarship, and research. Commercial and other uses are prohibited without the permission of the Maryland Center for History and Culture. For more information, visit the MCHC’s Reproductions and Permissions web page.