Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center
Backstory and Context
The museum began construction in 1979 with the primary contributions and impetus by Warren Cook and Errett Callahan. A living Indian Village was created which was a major component of the museum early in its existence. Unfortunately, the living Indian Village no longer exists. The Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center celebrated its grand opening on October 11, 1980.
Glass display cabinets highlighting the lifeways of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe are the centerpiece of the museum. Grover Miles built the display cases which still display the collections of the museum to this day. The museum displays combine replicas, primarily created by Errett Callahan, with original Native American artifacts donated by Tribal citizens from their family’s personal collections.
The display cabinets composing the museum begin with information from 12,000 years ago (the Ice Age) and incorporate all archaeological timeframes until the present. The displays in each cabinet are sub-divided into 4 themes and are color-coded blue, green, yellow, and red to assist the visitor in understanding the differences within in each theme from one era to the next. The four themes are:
• People - displays the way of life of the Pamunkeys during that specific era.
• Natural Environment – the environment in which they lived and live
• Settlement – relates to the dwellings in which they lived and live
• Subsistence - exhibits the tools they used and how they survived.
The museum also hosts a gift shop ran by the Pottery Guild where visitors can buy handcrafted items crafted by Pamunkey tribal citizens.
Please see the additional information section below for links to more information on Tribal History.