Old New York Diorama main content.

Old New York Diorama

Part of Theodore Roosevelt Memorial.

Text labels on the glass of the Old New York diorama, a scene between the colonial Dutch and the Lenape, adds context and highlights misrepresentation New interpretation on the glass of the 1939 Old New York diorama, which depicts a scene between the colonial Dutch and the Lenape, includes context and highlights clichés and inaccuracies.
R. Mickens /© AMNH
Open Interactive View

This 1939 diorama depicts Dutch leader Peter Stuyvesant receiving a delegation of Lenape, including Oratamin, a sachem (leader) of the Munsee branch. But the depiction of the Lenape reflects common clichés and a fictional view of the past that ignores how complex and violent colonization was for Native people.

Large-scale labels added in 2018 offer a layer of context and highlight misrepresentations in this scene. For example, the Lenape are shown wearing very little clothing—a stereotypical depiction of Native people, and not how a delegation of diplomats would have dressed for an important meetingNew label copy describes the history of the Lenni-Lenape and includes a quote from a contemporary Lenape elder, in addition to offering a snapshot of where the Lenape, who were driven from their ancestral homeland, live today.