“Quest for High Bear: A Boy’s Odyssey through Indian Country 1925-1939”

Texas has one more thing to be proud of with the exhibition “Quest for High Bear: A Boy’s Odyssey through Indian Country 1925-1939,” rightfully thought to be a state treasure. Fort Worth’s Gordon W. Smith was just a child in 1925 when he started collecting Native American artifacts. Over the years, he developed friendships with the members of many tribes, including the Apache, Lakota and Sioux. He continued to trade gifts with the various tribes until he went into the military in the 1940s. The items he collected, including elaborate warbonnets, intricate beadwork, impressive clothing and moccasins, fine basketry, and ceramics, represent most of the major Native American tribes. The exhibit includes the first artifact Smith acquired, a leather rattler that he was given when he was five, along with painted bison skins from the Sioux, necklaces made from beads, shells and even a grizzly bear claw.

In less than 20 years, Smith amassed an array of items that far surpasses any other private holdings and rivals those of many museums. First seen at the Texas State Centennial in 1936, the exhibit — and the story behind it — is all the more remarkable because of Smith’s young age when he began collecting. See “Quest for High Bear” from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Through March 15. Houston Museum of Natural Science, One Hermann Circle Drive, in Hermann Park. For information, call 713-639-4629 or visit www.hmns.org. Admission to the exhibit is included with the purchase of a regular ticket ($7 to $10).
Aug. 15-March 15, 2008

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