Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

A Champion of Culture

Dr. Archambault earned her doctorate at the University of California in Berkeley in 1984, where she later taught Native American studies. As curator of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History, she has organized various exhibitions, including “Plains Indian Arts: Change and Continuity,” “100 Years of Plains Indian Painting,” “Indian Baskets and Their Makers,” and “Seminole Interpretations.” Dr. Archambault is the lead curator of a multi-institutional curatorial team that includes American Indians and Euro-Americans.

JoAllyn Archambault devotes her life to teaching, researching, and administering programs relating to North American studies. She has taught classes in Native American studies at numerous colleges and universities including:  Pine Ridge Tribal College, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota; University of California, Berkeley; the University of New Mexico; and Johns Hopkins University. Her research interests focus on several urban and reservation communities in specific areas including reservation land use, health evaluation, expressive art, material culture, contemporary native culture, and the sun dance ceremony of eight different Plains groups.

Archambault worked as a Professor at the University of Wisconsin in the Department of Anthropology (1983–86). She also worked as the Director of Ethnic studies at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California (1978–83), in addition to a position at Hayward State College. She currently works for the Smithsonian Institution as the Director of the American Indian program of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Archambault began working there in 1986. Some of her responsibilities at the museum include preserving and promoting Native American art, culture, and political anthropology. She also acts as an ethnic liaison, and she supervises Native American fellowship interns.  Dr. Archambault is widely respected in academic circles everywhere.


JoAllyn Archambault, Ph.D.


A Celebration of Culture & History

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History


JoAllyn Archambault is a longstanding presence at the Smithsonian, where she has helmed countless exhibitions and educational tours over the years. She is given great freedom has the preeminent curator of- and authority on American Indian culture, including its study, preservation, appreciation and celebration. Check out this site's media section to view a short film about Dr. Archambault's passion.

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