“We Are A Horse Nation”
by Roy Andersen
The Favell Museum of Native American Artifacts and Contemporary Western Art
A visit to the Favell Museum is a must for anyone who loves Native American artifacts, and Western art.
This museum is dedicated to the Indians who roamed and loved this land before the coming of the white man and to those artists who truly portray the inherited beauty which surrounds us. Their artifacts and art are an important part of the heritage of the West. – Gene & Winifred Favell, Museum Founders
Over 100,000 artifacts, illustrating the lives of indigenous tribes from North and South America are on display, with the primary focus on Native American tribes. Collections dating from 12,000 years ago include thousands of arrowheads, obsidian knives, spear points, primitive ancient stone tools, native clothing, intricate bead work, basketry, pottery and more. The museum is home to an incredible fire opal arrowhead, found in the Black Rock Desert in 1910.
The collections on display give the visitor a suggestion of the richness and variety of societies no longer here and they illustrate how creative and adaptive the native people were. The artifacts give you a feel for what it must have been like for the early Native Americans to survive and thrive in southern Oregon, on the Columbia River and up and down the west coast of North and South America. Cultures from the mid-west to the Pacific and from Peru to Alaska are represented.
Among the ancient artifacts, you will find original paintings by many famous western artists, including the original oil “The Scouts” by Charles M. Russell. You will also find original paintings by John Clymer, Frank McCarthy and many more, who tell in their own artistic style, the story of the west. The displays represent a significant roll call of the Cowboy Artists of America.
Favell Museum Highlights
Look for numbers throughout museum exhibits that correspond to highlights listed below.
COLUMBIA RIVER AREA
- Columbia River Culture: Artifacts detail the lives of the Native Americans who lived near the Columbia River. The painting of Celilio Falls depicts fishing from platforms over the water. Cases display implements of river people including fishing, stone, and bone tools. Ancient Smoking Pipes, Stone Work, Trade Items, Wooden Burl Bowls and Effigies are also introduced in this area.
ARTIFACT & CULTURAL AREA
- Arrowheads & Points: The Favell Museum is home to an extensive arrowhead and point collection. In this area you can locate a variety of cases explaining the types and purposes of these artifacts in ancient cultures. Different hunting locations and resources determined what style and size arrowhead or point would be needed.
- Clovis Point: Introduced from the Clovis Culture, this Clovis Point is one of the finest known and was found in Silver Lake, OR amongst mammoth bones! The blade is flaked on both sides and has a chipped central channel (flute) to better secure it to a spear shaft. It dates to 13,000 B.P (before present).
- Coastal Tribes: Their homeland was between Paso Robles and Monterrey, CA, settlement occurred about 13,000 B.P. Many small bands traded to obtain materials and food. Fish from the sea was exchanged for animal and plant food from the interior. Extremely artistic, the tools and necklaces show intricate designs and use of color. Their culture virtually disappeared with the Spanish settlement of the mid-1700’s.
- Northwest Tribes: Settlement in small, coastal villages from Oregon to Alaska, tribes enjoyed rituals throughout the rainy winters. The tribes of the Northwest coastal areas are easily distinguished from other Native American tribes by their distinctive designs. Carved wooden masks, brightly painted, are similar in design to the powerful Totem Poles usually located at the main lodge of the village. Potlatches gave away a person’s wealth—material and spiritual—because they believed it shouldn’t be hoarded. Carved wooden implements from the plentiful forests provided housing, canoes, totem poles, and dishes. Cedar bark was made into clothing. Large communities and intricate crafts were developed by the Makah, Nootka, Tlingit, Kwakiutl and Haida, who patiently harvested the sea for food.
- Cougar Mountain Cave: Located 100 miles N.E. of Klamath Falls, this cave and others in the same vicinity, were revisited by researchers in 2008. Using modern DNA to date coprolites, scientists believe these could be the oldest humans discovered on the American continent 14,290 calendar years B.P. Excavated in 1958, John Cowles found human habitation throughout. Sandals made of tule were found at the lowest level while the upper level sandals were of sage. Pumice from Newberry Crater was four feet from the bottom which was deposited 2000 years ago.
- Klamath Tribes: The Klamath Tribes, consisting of the Klamath, Modoc, and the Paiute Yahooskin are ancient cultures who survived and thrived in the areas around Klamath Country. The four cases located in the middle row display artifacts and theologies of these local tribal communities, including the close proximity Shasta Tribe.
- Native American Pottery: Depending on local clay sources, pottery could be many colors as shown by Jeddito, black on yellow; Tularosa and Roosevelt, black on white; Salado produced red clay from the local river banks and Anasazi and Mimbres was black on white. Time frames from these cultures were different but the clay sources remained the same.
- Nicolarsen Cave: Excavated in 1960, amazing artifacts turned up in this cache. An extinct fox skin bag with shafted arrows and a filled badger bag. The atlatl was found with the boatstone attached. Dating by University of California was 8,030 years. It is the oldest known spear thrower in North America with the attached boatstone!
- Beadwork: One of the most common arts and crafts practiced by multiple Native American tribes included the decorative use of beads of various types. Generations before Europeans landed on the shores of the new world, Native American beadwork used primarily stone, shell, quills, and bone carved patiently with non-metal tools. As the decades went by and new materials like metal and glass were introduced by the new people arriving on the shores, the beadwork patterns used on clothing, jewelry, and decorations became much more intricate and stylized.
- Dioramas: Dioramas are a form of the model maker’s art that preserves not just an object but an entire scene or moment in time. The current, popular understanding of the term “diorama” denotes a partially three-dimensional, full-size replica or scale model of a landscape typically showing historical events, nature scenes or cityscapes, for purposes of education or entertainment.
- Tribal Sculpture Busts: There are five sculptures which were created and donated by Sculptor Joseph Macy, a Roseburg-area artist. Macy donated five of the sculptures to the museum in 2008 and a sixth is on loan. The six sculptures depict American Indians. Black Belly, from the Cheyenne, Sitting Bear of the Kiowa , Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, Red Cloud of the Lakota, Geronimo of the Apache and Sitting Bull of the Sioux.
- Fire Opal Arrowhead: The fire opal arrowhead was found in 1910 in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert by a sheepherder. H.H. Stuart, an Alturas, CA dentist, obtained it from the sheep The arrowhead was purchased by Mr. Favell in 1966. It is one of the most pristine, unique and rare arrowheads ever found.
- Miniature Firearms: The museum is home to one of the largest miniature firearm displays North America and possibly the world. These fully functioning miniature guns replicate standard size firearms scaling from 1:2 to 1:16. Most are even complete with scaled, live ammunition!
- Native American Basketry: Ancient man was nomadic and baskets were made to carry their wares from food to tools. Basket makers used the natural vegetation where they lived to weave them. Knowledge of a culture’s location helps in identifying baskets. Changes and adaptations occurred through trade and intermarriage. Klamath, Modoc, Apache, Washoe, Pomo, Panamint, Tlinglit are a few tribes represented in the collection.
- The Scouts, By Charles M. Russell: Charles M. Russell was many things: consummate Westerner, historian, advocate of the Northern Plains Indians, cowboy, writer, outdoorsman, philosopher, environmentalist, conservationist, and not least, artist. Always sketching, Charles Russell painted more than 2,000 paintings of cowboys, Native Americans, and landscapes of the West. The Scouts is an original piece produced in 1891. Make sure to read “$15 Bargain” to learn more.
Today, The Favell Museum is run by a non-profit foundation. The museum does not receive government funding. Donations help sustain museum collections and programming. Contributions are tax-deductible. To learn more about museum membership, please visit our Museum Memberships page.