Linking Nature and Culture
Exploring our museum's collections reveals connections between objects, nature, and culture, often in unexpected ways. These items, many of which are from the Objects of Wonder exhibit, are examples of such connections.
Our collections help us understand the variety of ways that human cultures draw inspiration and sustenance from the natural world. Through effort and ingenuity, people transform natural resources into marvelous objects. In turn, human actions influence the plants and animals we come into contact with.
What natural materials can you identify in the objects below? What connections to nature do you see in objects in your everyday life?
Place and Date: Hawai`i, early 19th century
Material: `I`iwi and `Ō`ō feathers, olonā fiber
Description: Hawaiian chiefs enlisted professional bird catchers (kia manu) to collect feathers for capes, helmets, and leis. Colorful plumes were so valuable that feather bundles were often traded between islands and used to pay taxes to the chiefs.
Catalog Number: E384228 (view complete catalog record)
Where to See It: This object is part of the Objects of Wonder exhibit at the museum.