Key Artifact Audio TourAncient Ozarks Natural History Museum
Artifact Tour Welcome
Welcome From Johnny
Hi, I'm Johnny Morris. I'm very proud today to welcome you to the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum and Ozarks Heritage Preserve. This place is really dedicated in many respects to my mom and dad, who grew up here in the Ozarks, and always took time to take me and my sisters out fishing on our beautiful rivers – and just to spend time in nature.
These galleries that you're going to visit represent a collection of both prehistoric and historic native American culture from here in the Ozarks, and really throughout North America. As I have studied this history, it's become even more obvious to me that our native Americans were the true first conservationists in our land. And, hunting and fishing sustained their families and led them to respect the fish and wildlife and the habitats that were required for them to flourish. So, we hope that you enjoy the exhibits in these rooms and that you'll take away a little bit better understanding of the importance of conservation and protecting what we have with our natural resources for many generations to come. Thank you and enjoy your journey and be inspired.
Artifact Tour Stop 1
It's Johnny Morris again. And I'd just like to comment as we enter one of our first galleries here, on some of the arrowheads. One is a frame of points that I tried to be creative and make like an Indian chief figure. So I found these when I was in my early teens near here.
In fact, most of the artifacts in this gallery come from Missouri, take a look around.
I guess I got carried away about this museum. Many years ago, I was young and I'd been fishing with my father. We were on a float fishing trip and I was cutting across a freshly plowed field to get my dad's truck. I was maybe 15 or 16, and I looked down and I saw this shiny piece of flint. And I found my first arrowhead and it just had a tremendous impact on me. And it made my mind rush with curiosity as to who had made this item. How long ago did they live here? And what was their life like? And of course, how abundant were the fish and wildlife at the time? As many years passed, I became more and more fascinated by the amazing rich history that we have right here in the Ozarks Plateau and the White River Basin. And particularly, [I] had a desire to pass on a little bit of the history about the people and the animals that came before us – long before us.
Artifact Tour Stop 2
Table Rock Dig
As you look at the photographs along this hallway, let me take you back a little bit.
It's the early 1950s, you wake up a little earlier than usual, load up your pickup truck, picnic lunch, kids in the back before setting out. It's a bit of a haul, but eventually you turn onto a gravel road. You follow that rutted path for about 12 miles before you park the truck and start walking. After a three-mile hike, you finally get there. You and thousands of your closest friends have come to see an archeological dig. No smartphones, no iPads, just the remains of who and what came before you. Archeologists carried out digs in this area just before the construction of Table Rock Dam and the formation of Table Rock Lake. And thousands of people took the trip I just described to attend their open houses. Many of the items you see nearby were rescued from places that are now underwater.
Artifact Tour Stop 3
Chief Joseph Coat
This coat belonged to the Nez Perce chief, Joseph the Elder, who converted to Christianity and brokered peace with the whites. But on his deathbed, he counseled the son, Chief Joseph the Younger, to protect Nez Perce land.
My son, my body is returning to my Mother Earth, and my spirit is going very soon to see the Great Spirit Chief. This country holds my father's body. Never sell the bones of your father and your mother.
The federal government had different ideas. When gold was discovered on Nez Perce land, they forced the tribe to move. Joseph the Younger led his people on an epic 1,200-mile retreat towards Sitting Bull, the Lakota and the freedom of Canada, fending off the US Army in more than a dozen skirmishes. Joseph finally surrendered just 40 miles from the Canadian border. He spoke these famous words.
I am tired of fighting. Our chiefs are killed. It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. Hear me, my chiefs. I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.
Joseph spent the rest of his life campaigning for the rights of the Nez Perce, hoping that one day they would enjoy American freedoms.
Artifact Tour Stop 4
Welcome now to the part of the museum where we really began to celebrate the heritage – the proud heritage of the Native American culture that's been such an important, inspirational part of our American way of life, and their need for conservation.
The next few galleries honor the Plains tribes: Arapaho, Black Feet, Cheyenne, Comanche, Crow, Kiawah, Osage and Pawnee. These nations occupied a giant swath of territory from Central Canada right down through Texas.
Take a look at the vibrant bead work in this gallery. Traditionally, Plains’ clothing was more muted, decorated with beads fashioned from shell, stone and bone. These handmade beads were status symbols and works of art in their own right. But, in the late 1800s, Native Americans began trading fur with whites. With their new wealth, they imported colorful glass beads from Europe. Each tribe had distinct color and design preferences. For instance, the Plateau peoples used more colors than the Crow. And the Great Lakes tribes liked floral motifs. They've always been a little fashion-forward up there in Michigan.
Artifact Tour Stop 5
Grizzly Bear Claw Necklace
Check out the size of those claws. Now imagine the bear on the other end of them – the now extinct prairie grizzly, which weighed in at about 800 pounds. Grizzlies once forged across the western half of North America, from Alaska to Mexico, and they were fierce. The Osage put together hunting parties of 50 men just to hunt down one grizzly.
This necklace comes from the Pawnee tribe. No doubt, a Pawnee leader once wore it with pride. Only the bravest warriors earned necklaces like this. By wearing it, they invited the spirit of the bear, its strength and ferocity into their own being. Bears were also associated with healing, so religious leaders wore bear claw necklaces, as well. These are the words of Eagle Chief of the Pawnee.
In the beginning of all things, wisdom and knowledge were with the animals. The one above did not speak directly to men. He sent certain animals to tell men that he showed himself through the beast and that from them and from the stars and the sun and moon men should learn.
Artifact Tour Stop 6
In 1855, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published an epic poem called “The Song of Hiawatha.” Some 30 years later, famed Western artist Frederic Remington illustrated the popular poem in a series of 22 paintings and 500 drawings. The poem describes the adventures of the fictional Ojibwe warrior named Hiawatha. This painting illustrates the death of Hiawatha's friend Kwasind, a strong and virtuous warrior. He helped Hiawatha dredge the rivers of roots and sandbars. You have to read the poem. But you can see how the painting captures the beauty of Longfellow's verse, "And he sideways swayed and tumbled, sideways fell into the river, plunged beneath the sluggish water headlong, as an otter plunges; and the birch canoe, abandoned, drifted empty down the river." Remington used a French technique called grisaille, which means he limited himself to shades of black, white and gray. This painting is a highlight of Johnny Morris's collection of fine art.
Artifact Tour Stop 7
In the late 19th and early 20th century, most depictions of Native Americans conveyed negative stereotypes. That's why the photographs in this gallery stood out. Frank A. Rinehart portrayed his subjects with grace and dignity. Rinehart and his assistant, Adolph Muhr, got the opportunity of a lifetime when they were invited to photograph the Indian Congress held in Omaha, Nebraska in 1898. More than 500 Native Americans from 35 tribes attended. The resulting portraits offer a stunning visual document of Native American life and culture at the dawn of the 20th century. They also help to change perceptions about Native Americans. Please take a moment to watch the short documentary film about Rinehart.
Artifact Tour Stop 8
Elk Tooth Dress
Elk are herbivores, feeding exclusively on grasses, plants, leaves and bark, yet they still have two canine teeth in their upper jaw designed for tearing meat. Those teeth serve no real purpose. They're just an evolutionary leftover. Now look at the dresses in front of you, adorned with those surplus canines. Yep, those are elk teeth. With each elk providing just two, it might take the better part of a lifetime to amass enough teeth for one elk tooth dress. These dresses were high fashion and generally worn only on special occasions, like a bride's wedding day. The number of teeth reflected the wealth and status of the woman and her family. This was even more true when elk were hunted with bow and arrow. You had to be a pretty adept hunter to harvest enough teeth for a good looking dress, which might feature as many as 400 teeth from 200 elk.
Artifact Tour Stop 9
War Shirt Gallery
Let's say you're a warrior from a Plains tribe. It's 1850 and you're wearing a war shirt. What did you do to earn it? Number one, you've risked your life counting coup. That means you've chased the enemy down and struck him with a wooden coup stick without getting killed in the process. Counting coup was an important test of skill and daring.
Most tribes required men to achieve at least three additional deeds to earn a shirt. These might include stealing weapons or horses, or scalping an enemy. Few men accomplished them all.
Wearing a war shirt was an honor that could be revoked for poor conduct. The legendary Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse, stole another man's wife, and tribal elders confiscated his shirt. Wooden Leg of the Northern Cheyenne explained…
The idea of full dress in preparation for a battle comes not from a belief that it will add to the fighting ability. The preparation is for death. Every Indian wants to look his best when he goes to meet The Great Spirit.
Artifact Tour Stop 10
Geronimo’s Gun & Bow
The Chiricahua Apache warrior, Geronimo, became a legend in late 19th century America. Stories of his cunning and ruthlessness, both real and imagined, were front page news. In Geronimo's youth, the Chiricahua Apache were engaged in bloody conflict with the Mexican government. For Geronimo, this cultivated in an 1851 raid when Mexican soldiers killed his mother, wife and three children.
“I had lost it all," he said in his autobiography.
He swore vengeance, leading raids on Mexican soldiers and settlements. "I have killed many Mexicans," He later wrote. "I do not know how many. Some of them were not worth counting."
After Mexico ceded Arizona to the United States, the Apache were sent to a reservation. Geronimo avoided capture until 1877. He escaped from the reservation three times before his death in 1909. Geronimo was never an Apache chief. He was a medicine man. Many believed he had supernatural powers to heal the sick, slow time, dodge bullets, set off sudden rainstorms and witness events happening miles away.
Artifact Tour Stop 11
The chuckwagon was invented by legendary rancher, Charles Goodnight (nickname, Chuck.) Goodnight was trying to gain an advantage in the competitive cattle business. In the late 19th century, dozens of cattle drives were moving millions of cattle from Texas to markets in the Midwest. There weren't enough cowboys to do the job. To improve recruitment, Goodnight offered better food. Picture it, a group of 10 or 12 cowboys driving a herd of two or 3,000 cattle across a wide open Western Prairie. They've been on the trail all day, the sun is sinking. They stop for the night and make camp. These men are hungry.
It was a pretty good idea. Goodnight purchased sturdy war surplus munitions wagons and outfitted them with kitchens, designed with the help of his cook. Soon trail drivers across the west adopted the practice and the chuckwagon was born.
Artifact Tour Stop 12
Trail of Tears
This mural represents the Trail of Tears.
Not all chapters of our history are pleasant. Not all of them are enjoyable. Certainly one of the saddest chapters in our country was the Indian Removal Act, which led to the Trail of Tears or the native Americans being pushed from their homelands to reservations. It is a very sad time in our country's history, and this area pays tribute to that time and the opportunity for us to learn from some of our past mistakes.
The Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced tribes in the southeast to leave their ancestral homelands and relocate in the west. These included the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole and Cherokee. Forced to march hundreds of miles across the United States, they suffer from exposure, disease and starvation. Thousands died before reaching their destinations.
Artifact Tour Stop 13
Doc Holliday Movie Costume
John Henry Holliday, better known as Doc Holliday, was an American gambler, gunfighter and dentist. A close friend and associate of lawman Wyatt Earp, Holliday is best known for his role in the events leading up to and following the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Holliday's colorful life and character have been depicted in many books and portrayed by many well-known actors in various movies, including the 1993 hit film Tombstone starring Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday. The film is loosely based on real events that took place in the 1880s in Tombstone, Arizona, including the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the Earp vendetta ride and depicts Holliday's death from tuberculosis in 1887. Kilmer was praised for his role as Holliday and delivered many legendary lines in the movie that instantly became a cult classic.
Why, Johnny Ringo, you look like somebody just walked over your grave.
I have two guns, one for each of you.
I didn't think you had it in you.
I'm your Huckleberry.
The glass case to the right contains the actual costume Val Kilmer wore in Tombstone for many of the scenes.
Artifact Tour Stop 14
Battle of Little Bighorn
The Battle of Little Bighorn. To the Lakota, the Battle of Greasy Grass Creek. Americans came to call it Custer's Last Stand. Whatever name you like – it marked a decisive victory for native Americans in the Sioux Wars, a conflict that played out over 40 years as the Plains Indians defended their homelands against white settlers.
It took place on June 25, 1876. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer attacked an encampment of Lakota Sioux, Dakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho on the Little Bighorn River in present-day Montana. Chief Sitting Bull provided spiritual leadership, and his visions inspired legendary warriors like Crazy Horse and Chief Gull to lead the fight. Chief Gull, whose bow is on display, made key tactical decisions. Scouting the enemy, he deduced that Custer was planning to strike the Native encampment from both ends. With this intelligence, Native warriors were able to force the 7th Cavalry into a defensive position, and Custer and 200 of his men were killed in a single day. Custer, or Long Hair as he was called by the Lakota, provided meritorious service to the union during the Civil War, but is now remembered for this ignominious defeat.
Artifact Tour Stop 15
Sitting Bull War Vest
Hi, it's Johnny Morris again. We're coming now to one of the most, without question, historically significant items contained in this entire museum. It's chief Sitting Bull's war vest. The Chief actually wore this vest at the famous Battle of Little Bighorn. A couple of things of note: you can see where when he was killed, the bullet entered in the front of the vest. If you also take time to go around and look at the backside of the vest, you'll see where the bullet exited, but obviously someone took the time to recycle and use this vest again because they patched it up and kept using it. I think too, what makes this vest so significant is the high regard in which Chief Sitting Bull was held by all of his people. He was very spiritual. He was very farsighted and reverent for fish,wildlife and nature. He was a true leader of men.
Sitting bull said "The warrior for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves and above all, the children, the future of humanity."
Artifact Tour Stop 16
Annie Oakley was one of the most famous members of Buffalo Bill's Wild West show troupe. She was paid more than any other member of the show, and she performed for Queen Victoria, King Umberto of Italy, the president of France, and the newly crowned German Kaiser Wilhelm II. None other than Sitting Bull gave her the nickname Little Sure Shot.
Throughout her life, Oakley took the time to teach other women how to shoot. She believed it was imperative for women to be able to defend themselves and considered shooting to be an excellent form of mental and physical exercise.
She once said, "I would like to see every woman know how to handle guns as naturally as they know how to handle babies."
Artifact Tour Stop 17
Abraham Lincoln Desk
Welcome to the Abraham Lincoln Room in the Civil War area of the museum. This is one of our most emotional, quiet areas in the museum to reflect back not only on the Ozark's history, but our nation's history. One of our most special artifacts indeed is the desk. And it's just hard to imagine that Abraham Lincoln, our great President, was sitting here at this very desk dispensing law in the U.S.A, in Springfield, Illinois.
In the next four galleries, you'll see some really cool Civil War artifacts: cannons, weapons, uniforms, even an officer's tent. But don't forget, this was the bloodiest war in American history. It pitted brother against brother, father against son, friend against friend, and nearly tore this country apart. In fact, the war divided Native Americans, as well. Tribes such as the Cherokee and Choctaw sided with the Confederacy. They had no love lost for the federal government and favored the notion of state's rights. The Choctaw were also slaveholders. Other tribes proclaimed their allegiance to the Union. A member of the Seneca Nation, Ely S. Parker, served as adjutant to General Ulysses S. Grant, and wrote the final draft of the terms of surrender used at Appomattox.
Artifact Tour Stop 18
On July 3, 1863, the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg, approximately 12,500 Confederate infantrymen advanced over open fields under heavy Union fire. Some of those rebel soldiers stared down the mouth of this very cannon. Pickett's Charge, as it was called, was an unmitigated disaster. The Southerners suffered casualties of over 50%. It also marked a turning point, effectively ending Robert E. Lee's attempt to win the war by invading the North. Years later, when asked why his charge at Gettysburg failed, Major General George Pickett replied, "I've always thought the Yankees had something to do with it."
Artifact Tour Stop 19
Abraham Lincoln’s Funeral Train
President Abraham Lincoln spoke these stirring words in his second inaugural address.
With malice toward none. With charity for all. With firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right. Let us strive on to finish the work we are in. To bind up the nation's wounds. To care for him, who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan.
One month after the speech, the 16th president of the United States was dead, felled by an assassin's bullet. This 36-star great star or grand luminary flag was likely draped over Lincoln's casket in the US Capitol rotunda, and was the same type of flag flown on his funeral train as it took his body from Washington back to Springfield, Illinois.
The nation mourned the loss of the leader who had seen it through the death and destruction of the Civil War. Americans struggled to bind up their wounds. The charity Lincoln sought for reconstruction seemed to disappear without him.
Artifact Tour Stop 20
George Washington’s Hair
This lock of George Washington's hair was one of several clipped by the undertaker at his funeral, a common practice at that time. They were given to dignitaries. This one was presented to Congressman Job Roberts Tyson and descended through his family. Washington's passing was a turning point in American history. His widow, Martha Washington, received hundreds of letters from people across the nation. The wife of a revolutionary war veteran wrote to her, "His virtues in this sublunary world have ensured him blessedness above."
But Americans had to wonder, could the new nation survive without Washington, the general who had secured its independence, the president who had made its untested Constitution work? Today, we know the answer, but it's important to remember that the United States succeeded thanks in no small part to Washington's example. He set the standard for every American president who followed.