This exhibit tells the story of more than 400 years of cooperation and conflict between Western New York’s native Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) inhabitants and the Europeans who came here as explorers, traders, and eventually, settlers. You’ll explore the effects of contact between two very different cultures through seminal events, including the formation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Beaver Wars, and the American Revolution.
At the Western Door focuses on the themes of cultural change and continuity. It brings together hundreds of rare archaeological and ethnological objects that demonstrate how the Haudenosaunee incorporated new technologies and materials into their way of life while holding onto the values and kinship ties that continue to bind their communities together today.
The exhibit features one of the most comprehensive assemblages of Seneca Haudenosaunee artifacts in the world — from a sequence of Seneca village sites that date from about 1550 to 1820 to European and American colonial artifacts of the same period. Ethnological objects from the 19th and 20th centuries and a multi-media presentation on contemporary Seneca life carry the story right up to the present day.