Original Story by: Christina Rose Indian Country Today Media Network
The 40,000-year-old wampum necklace may be the most impressive piece on view at the Tomaquag Museum in Exeter, Rhode Island, but that may change when 20,000 more archived items are made accessible to the public. The tiny exhibit space is roughly half of the 2,430-square-foot building, and there are plans in the works to expand. Until that happens, exhibiting the massive collection is a challenge that will be eased with a $30,000 USDA Rural Business Development Grant.
Much of the collection is original to the Southeastern New England nations, but many items have been donated or gifted from other parts of the country. “Visitors only see about five percent of our collection on exhibit,” said Lorén Spears, Tomaquag’s executive director.