NEPA Scene Staff

Native American boarding school stories told at Everhart Museum in Scranton from June 17-Aug. 16

Native American boarding school stories told at Everhart Museum in Scranton from June 17-Aug. 16
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From a press release:

The Everhart Museum of Natural History, Science, and Art in Scranton will present “Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories,” an exhibition exploring off-reservation boarding schools through a kaleidoscope of voices, from Thursday, June 17 through Monday, Aug. 16.

From the 1860s to the 1930s, the United States government attempted to “educate” and assimilate American Indians across the country into what it considered “civilized” society by placing children of all ages and tribes in distant, residential boarding schools, separating them from their families and culture.

Visitors to the exhibition will explore compelling photographs, artwork, interviews, interactive timelines, and immersive environments, including classroom and dormitory settings. The objects in the exhibit, such as a young Seminole girl’s skirt as well as reproduction elements, poignantly illuminate first-person accounts. Stories of tragedy and familial love and friendships intersect. Experiences of gaining things useful and beautiful out of education, despite a formidable 50-year agenda that largely maligned Native American capabilities, call visitors of the exhibit closer – each trial, each turning of power seeded in human survival strengthens Indigenous identity.

“Native American history is an important part of American history. And yet there are many historical moments and events that most Americans today know very little about – the history of Indian Boarding Schools being one. The first boarding school to ever open was located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, so this is a story that hits very close to home,” Everhart Museum Curator Francesca Saldan said.

“The exhibition explores the impact that these schools had on Native communities, from loss of cultural identity to loss of life. Today, some of the original boarding school buildings still exist but now function as tribal universities where Native American students are able to proudly express their Indigenous culture. At its core, ‘Away from Home’ tells an incredible story about survival and resilience.”

This exhibition is made possible by NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. It was adapted from the permanent exhibition “Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories,” organized by the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona in partnership with the Mid-America Arts Alliance in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Everhart Museum (1901 Mulberry St., Scranton) was closed until February due to a surge in local cases of COVID-19. It is currently open on an abbreviated schedule of 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for students and seniors, $2 for children 6-12, and free to guests 5 and under and to Everhart Museum members.

The Everhart was founded in 1908 by Dr. Isaiah Fawkes Everhart, a Scranton physician and businessman with a keen interest in natural history. Located in Scranton’s historic Nay Aug Park, the Everhart is the largest general museum in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It is dedicated to the collection, care, and display of a diverse array of objects and specimens, including natural history, science, and fine arts. Through its exhibitions and programs, the museum has been an invaluable regional resource for educational and cultural opportunities for over 100 years.

General support for the museum is received from the Lackawanna County Office of Education and Culture, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the city of Scranton. For more information, contact the museum at 570-346-7186 or email