There are 256 complete ceramic vessels from Arkansas in the Milwaukee Public Museum's collections, most dating to the Middle (AD 1200-1400) and Upper (AD 1400-European contact) Mississippian periods. A large portion of the collection came from three donors, C.W. Riggs, G.E. Pilquist, and T.M.N. Lewis. The first two were artifact collectors and dealers; Riggs's material has no provenience other than "Arkansas," but Pilquist's items were collected from the Carden Bottoms area in west-central Arkansas.
Aztalan, located on the Crawfish River in south-central Wisconsin near present-day Lake Mills, is approximately 50 miles west of Milwaukee. Occupied from about AD 1100-1250, Aztalan is the northernmost known outpost of the Mississippian culture. The site consists of large earthen temple mounds, houses, and an enormous stockade that enclosed 20 acres of the site.
The Museum's two Egyptian mummies, Djed-Hor and Padi-Heru, were acquired in 1887 and have been on display fairly regularly since that time. Both mummies came from Akhmim, Egypt and they were CT-scanned in 1986 and again in 2006. Padi-Heru is Ptolemaic (possibly 200-100 BC) and is probably under 30 years of age. He was a priest of the Min temple in Akhmim. (Min was the Egyptian ithyphallic god of fertility.)
The Sami, sometimes called Lapps, are an indigenous European group who currently inhabit the northernmost regions of Finland, Sweden, Norway, and a small part of Russia. Our Sami collection of approximately 100 pieces is the largest in North America and possibly outside of Europe. The majority of the objects are utilitarian in nature, such as clothing and household objects, but there are some decorative pieces as well. The items were donated to the museum between the late 1800s and the 1990s.
In 1904, this mortuary totem pole was exhibited at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. It was apparently too fragile to journey back to Alaska, and therefore entered into the collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum. "Totem Poles" are appropriately called crest poles because they display family-owned symbols of a particular kinship group. Crests can be compared with the "Coats of Arms" of European noble families.