Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum

Grantee:  Tomaquag Indian Memorial Museum
Location:  Exeter, R.I.
Award:  Artist and Community Collaboration Initiative
Discipline:  Wampum Belt: Telling Our Story
Web Site:

Funding for the project supported a collaboration between Narragansett tribal members and Narragansett wampum artists, Allen Hazard, who has been creating wampum art for over 35 years, and Lorén Spears, a traditional bead artist. Traditionally the creation of wampum belts was a collaborative effort. As a cultural practice, the wampum belt depicts the stories of the Narragansett people.

Three workshops were held with the Native community learning how to cut, shape, smooth and finish a wampum disk. The workshops were led by two Narragansett Tribal members, artists Allen Hazard and Lorén Spears. The workshops included the rich history and culture of wampum work in the Narragansett community and the teaching of traditional bead forms. During the workshops a wampum belt was created that tells the stories of the Narragansett people and community, which was donated to the Tomaquag Museum. The culmination of the project was the development of a wampum exhibit at the museum that included this belt, the history of wampum, historical pieces from the Tomaquag collection, archival quotes, as well as oral histories recorded via digital audio and video.