With more than 3,600 objects, the Museum’s ethnographic collection is the largest in the Southeast.* The collection spans North America and includes many important artifact types.

Many of these pieces were originally purchased by Leigh Morgan Pearsall between 1900-1960.

Exhibit Objects

North America

Significant collections

Indian baskets

At about 700 baskets, this collection is considered one of the most comprehensive in the country because it contains examples from many different Native American cultures.* It includes Pima and Apache baskets that are exceptionally fine.

Northwest Coast

This features nearly 1,000 pieces, including some rare masterworks such as the famous Chilkat dance shawls and more than 500 Haida argillite carvings, considered one of the world’s top argillite collections.* A variety of other carved wooden artifacts include totem poles, architectural models, canoes and figures.

Alaskan Eskimo and Canadian Inuit

About 425 artifacts represent a wide range of arctic material culture, from utilitarian items of wearing apparel, blankets and tools to ceremonial pieces, such as dance fans, masks and drums.*


Predominantly Lakota (Sioux), this collection of more than 650 objects includes garments, equestrian equipment, and a wide variety of stone pipes and other pieces.*


Most of these artifacts are Ojibwa (Chippewa), and also group called Anishnabe. There are also a few artifacts attributed to the Seneca and Sauk or Fox.


This collection of about 575 artifacts features katsina dolls, pottery, jewelry, woven textiles and basketry.* Highlights include Hopi baskets, Navajo or Diné rugs and blankets, Pueblo ceramics and a few Zuni pieces.

Latin America

Our Mesoamerican collection includes primarily textiles from the Maya area.

South America

In 2005 the Florida Museum became the repository for a collection of more than 2,500 South American objects confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a criminal case against a collector convicted of illegally importing Amazonian feathers and other items in violation of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna.

The Museum also maintains an important collection of South American artifacts from Peru donated by Paul and Polly Doughty, who began collecting in the 1950s, and a substantial collection of ethnographic artifacts collected in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru by Roy C. Craven in the 1970s.

*Collection numbers were accurate at the time the exhibit was on display in 2017. Please visit the collection website for updated holdings information.