Museum visitors will be given the opportunity to view over three-thousand artifacts ranging from the standard arrowheads, to educational charts, birch bark canoes, and other object both new and old. A display of contemporary paintings reflecting Native culture will be on display. Someone will always be available to answer questions concerning the objects on site, or to answer questions about Haudenosaunee culture past and present. Depending on the number of visitors and circumstances a pictographic story belt will be used in the telling of a legend. Larger groups attending the museum by appointment will be given an expanded lecture on the history of the Haudenosaunee, including a description of the traditional government, and other elements of the culture.
The museum’s collection began more than half a century ago by the museum’s founder, Ray Fadden. Most of the objects are from or are about the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois. There are also artifacts from other Native cultures as well. Among those cultural groups are Abenaki, Lakota, and others. Featured among the objects are a set of beaded Lakota moccasins from the period of tragedy among the Lakota when western expansion was taking place. Also present is a buckskin tunic of the Abenaki from the time period of Rogers Rangers, another sad episode in Native history.
Ray Fadden, a skilled craftsman in his own right, produced a number of items that remain in the collection. He was a prolific beadworker, and resulting from that skill he produced a number of pictographic story belts. One such belt portrays the story of the formation of the Haudenosaunee, and is the longest such belt in the world at 75 feet. Some of these belts are used in the process of telling stories to visitors.
Educational traditional charts diagrams of the government of the HaudenosauneRay Fadden and family also produced a number of educational charts reflecting history and culture. All of the charts are on displayed for visitors to read. One such chart features a diagram of the traditional government of the Haudenosaunee. This chart has text and drawings illustrating the nations of the Confederation, a listing of the fifty Chieftainship titles, with clan & nation affiliation indicated. Another display is called the Contributions chart. This chart illustrates and names of many innovations, food plant developments, as well as medicinal plants that were discovered and developed by various Native Nations of the Americas. This chart goes beyond the standard corn & teepee knowledge of Native American contributions to the world that most are aware of.
One of the most prized pre-contact items is the Silver Lake pottery bowl. This bowl, of Haudenosaunee design, was found accidentally by a hunter during the mid-twentieth century. Also of local Adirondack origin is a dug out canoe that was discovered by scuba divers in Lake Placid. Plus, there are pottery sherds from nearby St. Regis Mountain, a stone scraper from along True Brook which is east of the museum’s location, and other pottery sherds from Cumberland Head on Lake Champlain.