Cultures in Competition:
Indians & Europeans in Colonial New Jersey
On extended view
Main Building - Lower Level Hallway Gallery
after Gustavus Hesselius
Tish-Co-Han, A Delaware Chief (c.1837-1844)
from "The McKenney-Hall Portrait Gallery of American Indians"
Published by J.T. Bowen, Philadelphia
New Jersey State Museum Collection
The exhibition provides a view of the seventeenth-century Dutch, Swedish and English competition to start colonies within what is today New Jersey and to develop a successful fur trade with the Indians who were living here.
The visitor is given the opportunity to view this exciting period of history through Native American and European objects produced during this fierce competition. The impact of the Europeans' arrival and eventual settlement on the lifestyle of the Indian inhabitants is also presented through early documents and historic maps and drawings. Artifacts on display include a rare dugout canoe along with examples of seventeenth-century Indian fishing equipment and domestic and personal items drawn from the Museum's extensive Native American archaeological collections. English- and Dutch-made seventeenth-century trade goods recovered from excavations at Indian sites include metal axes and hoes, glass beads, a rare brass kettle, gun parts, and white clay smoking pipes.
A selection of tools and ornaments the Indians made from broken brass kettles is also in the exhibition, along with a reconstruction of how wampum (small shell beads) was made by the Indians. Historic wampum beads are displayed and the importance of the beads in the fur trade is presented through historic accounts. The exhibition includes the earliest images of the Indians of the area drawn by European colonists and the earliest maps showing sites of Indian settlements in the seventeenth-century.
The exhibition was funded by the Friends of the New Jersey State Museum through a generous grant from the Estate of Paul Stillman, Wachovia Bank, Executor.