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Moccasin Collection | Wisconsin Historical Society

Resource Description

About Our Moccasins

Wisconsin Historical Museum Collections

Moccasin Collection | Wisconsin Historical Society
Pair of beaded buckskin moccasins using an abstract design of brown, sky blue, green, and magenta opaque seed beads on opaque white seed bead background. HoChunk, 1930-1950.
This pair of beaded buckskin moccasins uses an abstract design of brown, sky blue, green, and magenta opaque seed beads on opaque white seed bead background. It was created by the HoChunk between 1930 and 1950 and can be found in the online moccasin collection.

About the Moccasin Tour

Content of the Tour

This tour features more than 150 pairs of moccasins from the collections of the Wisconsin Historical Museum. Although the Museum currently collects only moccasins associated with tribes of the upper Midwest, its collecting scope included most of North America at one time. Thus the online tour features items not only from the Wisconsin area, but also from cultures indigenous to other regions.

The tour contains selected information about the moccasins. The first thing you see is a thumbnail image and a brief description of each artifact. Clicking on the thumbnail results in a zoom image. Clicking on the brief description yields more information, including:

  • Catalog number - this is the identification number that the Wisconsin Historical Museum uses to track the object. Please refer to this number in any correspondence with Museum staff.
  • AAT object term - this is what the artifact is called according to the Art and Architecture Thesaurus, a vocabulary created by the J. Paul Getty Trust. (In a few instances, local terminology is used.)
  • Detailed description - this is a physical description of the object. Information about condition and overall size is not accessible online at this time, although the accompanying photos provide clues.
  • Object history - this is contextual information about the object, its maker, its wearer(s), and/or the circumstances surrounding its creation, use, and subsequent acquisition by the Wisconsin Historical Society.
  • Dates - these are dates associated with the object's history. Dates may refer to design, manufacture, modification, use, and/or subject.

If you would like more information regarding any of the objects, please contact the Chief Curator. The Historical Society cannot provide information regarding appraisal values and storage locations.

Organization of the Tour

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The tour is organized by tribal affiliation. Tribes are listed alphabetically rather than by region. Specific moccasins are featured in more than one list if they are associated with more than one tribe or if affiliation is uncertain. Three lists (Great Lakes, Iroquois, Plains) include moccasins for which no more specific tribal association is known. The Sioux list includes moccasins that have specific affiliations with Dakota (Santee), Lakota (Teton), and Yankton Sioux.

The final list features the entire collection organized in order by catalog number.