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Native American Crafts for Kids at Mitchell Museum During Summer Break

A story about Kids Native American crafts workshops at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian during this summer school break.
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The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston, Illinois will offer special activities for youngsters June 11-14 during the first week of summer break for students in Evanston/Skokie School District 65.

During the museum’s “School’s Out Family Fun Week,” kids can engage in do-it-yourself craft projects making simple versions of traditional Native American items including Southwest woven rugs, Northwest Coast masks, Plains shields, and Lakota star quilts. The crafts are recommended for children ages 5 and older. Participants must be accompanied by an adult.

Native American stories will be read each afternoon at 2 p.m. in the museum's teaching lodge.

The “school’s out” activities are included with the price of museum admission. Regular museum hours will be in effect.

Kids Craft Morning Programs

The museum will also offer its “Kids Craft Morning” programs on Saturdays and Sundays in June, July, and August.

Mitchell staffers and volunteers lead the informal, one-hour sessions where children learn to construct simple versions of traditional Native American objects using everyday craft materials.

Kids will make corn husk dolls out of corn husks and twine; porcupine quill boxes out of colored toothpicks and cardboard; woven baskets of yarn applied to drinking cups; Northwest Coast button blankets of plastic buttons glued to felt; Northwest Coast rattles of dry corn kernels sandwiched between paper plates; bolo ties of nylon cord, cardboard, and colored mosaic tiles; beaded key chains of hemp cord, beads, and metal key rings; beaded bracelets and headbands of cord and beads made on a cardboard loom; Plains ledger drawings sketched on columnar accounting paper; Seminole patchwork of fabric pieces glued onto cloth; God’s eyes of colored yarn and craft sticks; and a Cherokee syllabary, a booklet using written symbols to represent syllables of the Cherokee language.

Workshop dates, times, and themes are as follows:

-- June 1, 11 a.m.–noon, woven baskets
-- June 2, 12:30–1:30 p.m., woven baskets
-- June 8, 11 a.m.–noon, Cherokee syllabary
-- June 9, 12:30–1:30 p.m., Cherokee syllabary
-- June 15, 11 a.m.–noon, Plains ledger drawings
-- June 16, 12:30–1:30 p.m., Plains ledger drawings
-- June 22, 11 a.m.–noon, God’s eyes
-- June 23, 12:30–1:30 p.m., God’s eyes
-- June 29, 11 a.m.–noon, bolo ties
-- June 30, 12:30–1:30 p.m., bolo ties
-- July 6, 11 a.m.–noon, Northwest Coast masks
-- July 7, 12:30–1:30 p.m., Northwest Coast masks
-- July 13, 11 a.m.–noon, corn husk dolls
-- July 14, 12:30–1:30 p.m., corn husk dolls
-- July 20, 11 a.m.–noon, button blankets
-- July 21, 12:30–1:30 p.m., button blankets
-- July 27, 11 a.m.–noon, beaded key chains
-- July 28, 12:30–1:30 p.m., beaded key chains
-- August 3, 11 a.m.–noon, Seminole patchwork
-- August 4, 12:30–1:30 p.m., Seminole patchwork
-- August 10, 11 a.m.–noon, God’s eyes
-- August 11, 12:30–1:30 p.m., God’s eyes
-- August 17, 11 a.m.–noon, Northwest Coast rattles
-- August 18, 12:30–1:30 p.m., Northwest Coast rattles
-- August 24, 11 a.m.–noon, loom beading
-- August 25, 12:30–1:30 p.m., loom beading
-- August 31, 11 a.m.–noon, quill boxes
-- September 1, 12:30–1:30 p.m., quill boxes.

The museum also makes available coloring projects and other simple craft activities on request at the workshops.

Offered year-round, the museum’s Kids Craft workshops are designed to introduce children to Native cultures of the U.S. and Canada, which are the focus of the Mitchell Museum’s collections and exhibits.

Workshop participants have the opportunity to view authentic examples of Native crafts from the Mitchell’s collection and illustrations of Native designs as models for their projects.

Kids Craft Morning activities are recommended for children ages 5 and up, but there is no minimum age requirement. Participants must be accompanied by an adult. No pre-registration is necessary.

Admission to Kids Craft Morning workshops is included with museum admission, which is $5 for adults, $3 for children (ages 1- 17), students (with ID), teachers (with ID), and seniors (age 65+). Admission is free for Mitchell Museum members and tribal members. Museum admission is also free for active-duty military personnel and their families through September 1 in conjunction with the national Blue Star Museums program.

The independent, nonprofit Mitchell Museum is located at 3001 Central Street, Evanston. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays.

For information, phone 847-475-1030 or e-mail Website: