Among the Museum library’s rare books is a Chinese silk-covered album containing over 100 beautiful hand-painted butterflies on a dozen plates produced sometime between 1830 and 1871.
Mimicry is common in nature, allowing an animal or insect to sneak in closer to prey or to dupe and deflect predators by taking on a more dangerous species’ characteristics. A fascinating example of the latter can be seen in the robber fly Wyliea mydas, which mimics lethal tarantula hawks.
There are 26,000 objects in the Museum's Pacific Peoples collections, with about 2,000 on display in the Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific Peoples. Go inside the collections with Assistant Curator Jennifer Newell, in a video.
Join Curator of North American Ethnology Peter Whiteley as he leads a video tour of the Museum's Pacific Northwest Coast collections, which includes a giant Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw whale mask, pictured above left.