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23 July – 5 September

Wampum belts are stories of communities and culture. This touring exhibition centres on a newly-crafted wampum belt created by the Wampanoag people of Massachusetts alongside historic material from the British Museum.

This touring exhibition unites contemporary indigenous artists and educators in the USA with museums and historic collections in Britain. Together, they explore the history, art and culture of the Native Americans who met the passengers of the Mayflower. Wampanoag artists share their story through images, ideas and wampum – the sacred shells of Native America.   

Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America is a major commission that acknowledges our cultural connection to the Wampanoag people who met the passengers of the Mayflower and ensured the survival of the new English settlers.

Created by the Wampanoag people of Massachusetts, a wampum belt unites the collectors of the shells, the artisans who refine them and polish them, and the makers who shape them and weave them. Wampum is sacred and symbolic. It carries the history, the culture and the name of the Wampanoag people. Wampum belts are the creative expression of their stories, with each shell imbued with memory and meaning.

Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America is presented by The Box, Plymouth and supported by Arts Council England as part of Mayflower 400.

Free entry with general admission ticket.

A hand rests on a woven Wampum belt