Skip to main content
Shells & Nails on the Wampum Trail
Penn Museum Blog
  • Margaret Bruchac, University of Pennsylvania
Document Type
Date of this Version
In May, my research assistants Stephanie Mach and Lise Puyo joined me for field research in the northeastern US and Canada, visiting nine museums, four tribal communities, and several private collectors to examine colonial-era wampum (woven shell bead) belts and collars. (For more details, see our blog, On the Wampum Trail.) Our travels on the wampum trail were charted, in part, by following a track that Frank G. Speck (one of the founders of the Penn Department of Anthropology) laid a century earlier, when he collected examples of visual, ephemeral, and material culture among Algonkian and Iroquoian communities. By creating detailed object cartographies and provenance histories, we hope to recover connections between Indigenous objects in museums and contemporary Indigenous communities.
  • ARRAY(0x7f54f6beb090)
Citation Information
Margaret Bruchac. "Shells & Nails on the Wampum Trail" Penn Museum Blog (2015)
Available at: