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Diorama: "Window Rock, circa 1936"

National Park Service, Eastern Museum Laboratory, Otto H. Jahn (1900-?), and Arthur A. Jansson (1890-1960)1935/1937

U.S. Department of the Interior Museum

U.S. Department of the Interior Museum

This original diorama was created by the National Park Service's Morristown Field Laboratory for the inaugural installations in the Indian Affairs alcove of the U.S. Department of the Interior Museum, which opened in 1938. The diorama depicts a contemporaneous (circa 1936) view of life at Window Rock, the seat of government and capital of the Navajo Nation, the largest territory of a sovereign Native American nation in North America.

In the left foreground of the diorama is a hogan with cross-laid log walls and an earthen roof. A woven blanket covers the entrance to the hogan. Seated on the ground in front of it is a Navajo woman in a green shirt shucking corn. To her proper right a baby is crawling toward her on all fours. The woman's gaze is directed to her left where a toddler in a grayish skirt and mauve top is standing, right arm outstretched toward a young lamb. Beyond this scene is a Navajo man seated atop a pinto horse, both viewed in left profile. In the center of the scene are three Navajo men. One is seated cross-legged, working on a piece of metal with a hammer. Another man is lying prone on the ground watching him, arms propped on a rock. A second man is seated—perhaps on a stump—and overlooking the working man's proper left shoulder. At the far right of the scene, a Navajo woman is kneeling atop a blanketed dais and is weaving a Navajo blanket on an upright loom, shaded by a brush shelter of vertical poles covered by cedar and pinyon boughs. A man is standing to her right, affixing something onto the loom frame. In the painted backdrop is a desert landscape dotted by a rocky outcropping—with the Window Rock feature at right—and the newly-built Central Agency buildings.

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  • Title: Diorama: "Window Rock, circa 1936"
  • Creator: National Park Service, Eastern Museum Laboratory, Otto H. Jahn (1900-?), Arthur A. Jansson (1890-1960)
  • Date Created: 1935/1937
  • Location: Window Rock, Arizona
  • Physical Dimensions: Approximately H 96.5, W 92, D 49 inches
  • Provenance: INTR 07372, U.S. Department of the Interior Museum
  • Subject Keywords: Navajo, Window Rock, Arizona, weaving, American Indian, Native American, Central Agency, reservation, silversmith, Morristown Field Laboratory, Fort Defiance, Tségháhoodzání
  • Type: Diorama
  • Rights: U.S. Department of the Interior Museum
  • Medium: sand, wood, wax, paint, metal, fabric, plaster

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