A pair of child’s moccasins with toes pointing down. The insides are lined with pink fabric, and the exterior is covered in brightly coloured glass beads. The beads are pink near the ankle, the vamp has white and red along with a figurative image in the centre, and the edges are lined with rows of blue, white, and green.


The Anthropology collection contains objects, images, oral histories and other documents of cultural and historical significance pertaining to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities in Manitoba. There are also artifacts originating from northwestern Ontario and Saskatchewan, the southern prairie regions, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. A small cross-cultural collection consists of items donated by individuals who worked or travelled in Africa, Australia, Central America, New Guinea, and the Pacific. 

Now more than 17,000 artifacts, the majority of our holdings date back to the 1890-1940 time period. Many were collected by individuals who worked in Indigenous communities. The most historically significant artifacts are the early nineteenth century items that were collected by the artist Paul Kane, the early twentieth century Caribou Inuit objects assembled by Bishop Donald B. Marsh, and our large collection of early twentieth century northern Cree and Métis/Cree materials. 

Much of our research is dedicated to discovering more information about our present collection. This involves working with communities; studying documents, images and oral histories held in archives; and comparing our holdings with those in other institutions. Ongoing collecting and research are constantly being redefined as a result of community consultation, with a special focus on residential schools, treaties, post-1870 life, and the contemporary traditional arts movement. Collecting is also guided by community-based input into the development of our permanent and temporary exhibits, such as the contemporary Wambdi Wacasta Tipi exhibit in the Prairies Gallery. 

A flat piece of wood supports an oblong-shaped bag made from black velvet and heavily decorated with glass beads in floral patterns. Colours of light pink, bright green, blue, red, yellow, and white are featured in the design. A curved piece of wood runs along the top, called a fender, and gold and red ribbons are tied to the side.

Cradleboard with beaded moss bag, used for carrying infants (Anthropology Collection, H4-21-83) Image © Manitoba Museum

A dark brown, oval dish carved from wood with zig-zag and triangular carvings along the edge.

Wooden serving dish from Papau New Guinea, collected in the 1920s (Anthropology Collection, H4-0-304) Image © Manitoba Museum 

A tan-coloured hide shirt placed on a mannequin that has painted depictions of people with horses, possibly representing battles, using dark brown and bright orange colours. A large quillwork panel in the centre with a geometric pattern and two strips of geometric quillwork along the shoulders. Pieces of dark brown horsehair dangle from the collar and shoulders.

A Plains painted hide shirt with quillwork and horsehair, collected in the 1840s by artist Paul Kane (Anthropology Collection, H4-4-4) Image © Manitoba Museum 

Dr. Amelia Fay

Dr. Amelia Fay

Curator of Anthropology & the HBC Museum Collection

Amelia Fay is Curator of Anthropology and the HBC Museum Collection at the Manitoba Museum. She received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Manitoba (2004), an MA in Archaeology…
Meet Dr. Amelia Fay