​Native American Baskets

This exhibit encompasses material culture objects associated with Native American use of the Central Wisconsin area. On display is Ho-Chunk basketry.

Ho-Chunk people are well-known for producing Black Ash baskets which continue to serve a variety of utilitarian purposes. More ornate baskets are typically sold in the tourist trade. Producing Black Ash baskets requires knowledge, skill, and a great deal of time.

Preferred for its strength and flexibility, black ash grows in damp forested areas. Individuals travel considerable distances to select a suitable tree, which is felled, cut to length, and transported home. Outer strips, used for weaving, and the darker inner wood, used for the framework, are removed by pounding, smoothed, and dyed. The actual construction of the basket is regarded as the easier part of the process.