The Museum is the steward of many cultural treasures, but none combine beauty with functionality as well as its collection of baskets created by Native California women, recognized as the finest basket weavers in the world. Examples of gathering, storage, cooking, gift, and ceremonial baskets from various tribal groups from throughout the State reflect the diversity of California’s original inhabitants.
An indispensable aspect of Native Californians’ everyday lives, the baskets on display illustrate the different techniques and designs employed by our State’s various tribal groups, including Yokuts, Miwok, Pomo, and Washoe. In addition, while baskets were woven in every region of California, and the raw materials utilized by Native weavers depended upon each group’s environment, some common fibers included bear grass, willow, redbud, maiden hair, and bracken fern. Although the baskets in the museum’s collection were made many decades ago, they continue to serve as a tangible link between today’s Native people and their cultural heritage.