Hudson Museum – Orono, Maine - Atlas Obscura

Hudson Museum

Orono, Maine

Largest institutional collection of tomb figures from Western Mexico in the United States. 


The Hudson Museum at the University of Maine in Orono contains more than 8,000 archeological objects from indigenous cultures across the Western Hemisphere. Included in the holdings of the Hudson Museum is the William P. Palmer III Collection, which comprises a wide range of Precolumbian and Northwest Coast art.

Of special note in the Palmer collection are some 550 tomb figures from the Colima, Jalisco, and Nayarit cultures of Western Mexico. These clay figures - of everything from men and women to animals and abstract shapes - date back thousands of years and vary in size and form. They were buried with the dead in vertical shaft tombs that were dug down through the natural rock of the region and ended in one or more horizontal burial chambers. The Hudson Museum boasts the largest institutional collection of such funerary art in the United States.

The Hudson is also home to Maine Native American baskets and basket-making tools; weapons, clothing, tools, ceramics, textiles and jewelry from Native American peoples around the United States and the Arctic area; and Precolumbian weapons, gold work, and ceramics.

The 9,000-square-foot Hudson Museum charges no admission fee, and can be found on the second level of the Collins Center for the Arts. The tomb figures are frequently displayed at the museum, and the entire tomb figure collection can be viewed online at the Hudson Museum website.

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