Groundbreaking Today for Indian Museum

Article excerpt

Ground will be broken this morning for the National Museum of the American Indian in a colorful ceremony on the Mall.

Situated between the Capitol and the National Air and Space Museum, the Indian museum is scheduled to open in late 2002. The site, at Independence Avenue and Fourth Street SW, is the last for a museum on the Mall.

The museum will celebrate native peoples of the Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic to Peru. Inaugural exhibits are titled "Our Universes," "Our Peoples" and "Our Lives."

Highlights of the museum's 800,000-piece collection include Geronimo's hat, Chief Joseph's rifle case and Sitting Bull's drum.

"Completing the National Museum of the American Indian has been a key goal during my tenure as secretary of the Smithsonian," outgoing Smithsonian Secretary I. Michael Heyman said in a statement. "Opening the George Gustav Heye Center [of the American Indian Museum] in New York City in 1994, the Cultural Resources Center [for the museum, in Suitland] in 1998, and finally the groundbreaking of the National Museum of the American Indian - all have had special meaning for me and many others. …