Established by a small group of Zuni tribal members in 1992, the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center is a private federally registered not-for-profit 501c(3) organization dedicated to serving the Zuni community with programs and exhibitions that help us reflect on our past and are relevant to our current and future interests. As a tribal museum and heritage center – for the Zuni people and by the Zuni people – we work to provide learning experiences that emphasize A:shiwi ways of knowing as well as exploring modern concepts of knowledge and the transfer of knowledge. We define our institution as an ecomuseum, in harmony with Zuni’s environmental values and dedicated to honoring, cultivating and nurturing dynamic Zuni culture.
As part of its vision, the AAMHC promotes, facilitates and conducts collaborative initiatives with several museums and collecting institutions located both in the United States and abroad. One of the main purposes of these collaborations is to “set the record straight”; to correct inadequate, inaccurate and/or wrong representations of our collections housed at satellite museums and archives. Museum collaborations enable us to negotiate access to our own cultural patrimony and work towards regaining control over the circulation of our objects and knowledge associated with those objects thereby reconciling historical asymmetries of power between source communities and holding institutions.
Similarly, art is an elemental part of our culture, whether through performance, two-dimensional or three-dimensional works, the AAMHC strives to broaden the potential of artistic expression in our community. From our collection of ancient Zuni art, exhibitions of Zuni school art, to our A:shiwi Map Art collection, the AAMHC provides a venue and forum for local artists to study and reflect on the possibilities of art in our community.