It’s Your Turn: A Home Studio | Heard Museum

It’s Your Turn: A Home Studio

Now that you have explored and learned about the Native people in the Southwest in the HOME exhibit, take some time to expand on your learning with these fun hands-on activities, which will help to deepen your understanding of what you saw. We also invite you to revisit the HOME exhibit after you complete your activities so you can see which parts of the exhibit inspired these activities!

It’s your turn now to have some fun and make some things you can take back to your HOME!

Zuni Jewelry

Perhaps the most beautiful characteristics of Zuni jewelry are the many colors and designs that spark imagination and tell stories. The materials that you will most commonly see in Zuni jewelry are turquoise, white or brown shell, coral and jet. The small pieces are set into a silver setting or background, like a mosaic. These materials come from many places far and wide; the Zuni people acquired them through trading and purchase.

What is a mosaic? A mosaic is a larger pattern or picture created from small pieces of colored materials—in this case, turquoise, shell, coral and jet—applied to a setting or background surface. The Zuni people are famous for mastering this technique in their jewelry.

It’s Your Turn:
This coloring activity is based on two Zuni bracelet designs. One bracelet design features a male Rainbow figure wearing a cloud headdress, and the other features a Sun Face design.

 Butterfly and Dragonfly

What is the one element that we simply cannot live without (aside from air)?

Water! Water is the most precious resource we have, and the importance of water is visible in nearly every item you can see in the HOME exhibit. Living in a desert, we are especially aware of the importance of water. Tribes in the Southwest decorate their pottery with images of insects associated with pure water, like the butterfly and dragonfly. Many Native people believe that surrounding yourself with images of water and insects that represent water will make water plentiful around you—meaning drought will be prevented and rain will come to water the crops.

It’s Your Turn:
Create your own butterfly and dragonfly! Find a good place for them in your house—maybe on your front door. Putting them on your refrigerator will remind you to drink plenty of water each day to stay hydrated. In the bathroom, they will remind you to save water and turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth! Let the butterfly and dragonfly remind you how to respect our most precious natural resource.

Apache Saddle Bag

Generations ago when the Apache People moved around the Desert Southwest they used this special bag that would be draped on the backsides of the horses. What makes saddlebags even more fascinating is that they have individual compartments for different items to be stored. For example, in an old-style saddlebag, one side could hold food items, such as dried meat or bread, and the other side could hold extra clothing and blankets.

It’s Your Turn:
Color and fill your bag with the activities that you finish in this gallery!

Where We Live

The place we call “home” is one of the most important places for anyone. In the HOME exhibit, you will see that each Indian tribe has a different style of home, depending on where they live. The Pueblo people of New Mexico and Hopi people in Arizona live in homes made of adobe (mud bricks) that keep them cool in the summer. In the past, Apache people used homes called “wickiups” (WIK-ee-ups) or “gowa” (GO-uh) that could be put up and taken down while traveling. The feeling of family is so close to the feeling of home that the word “gowa” also means “family” in Apache. Today, family continues to be a central foundation of what HOME means to all American Indians!

It’s Your Turn:
Create a 3-D version of a traditional Navajo-style home, called a “hogan” (HOE-gahn). Be sure to visit the hogan featured in the HOME exhibit! Touch the log walls and compare them to the image that you will color and cut out.

Calendar Stick

Before the days of Internet blogs and even handwritten personal diaries, the O’otham people made calendar sticks to record and share the important events that occurred each year in their communities. Like each individual, each calendar stick is unique. Traditionally, a calendar stick is made from the long rib of a saguaro cactus.

It’s Your Turn:
Visitors can use the four designs selected to create their own calendar stick that describes important events for the part year.

Be sure to look for the calendar stick in the HOME exhibit that records the sighting of a large meteor back in 1859!


When an American Indian baby is born, it may sleep in a protective baby carrier called a cradleboard. Styles of cradleboard are different from tribe to tribe. Everything about the construction and representation of the cradleboard is designed for the protection and well-being of the baby.

It’s Your Turn:
Many young Navajo and Apache children love to play with dolls and wrap them up in mini cradleboards. This is a great way to practice and learn how to be great big brothers and sisters! Try wrapping one of the baby dolls in a cradleboard.

In the Sandra Day O’Connor Gallery. Free with museum admission.

Malcare WordPress Security