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Research and Collections of Arthur C. Parker

Arthur C. Parker was the first full-time archaeologist at the New York State Museum from 1906 until 1925.  Born on the Cattaraugus Seneca Reservation, he was initially hired as an ethnologist by the New York State Library in 1904 to document Iroquois traditions, but soon joined the New York State Museum where he continued his ethnological work in addition to archaeological research.

Parker collected both Iroquois and Algonquian material culture including cooking utensils such as baskets, spoons, stirring paddles, wooden bowls, and maple sugaring tools, and tools used in silversmithing and basket making. He published Museum Bulletins on the Iroquois Uses of Maize and other Food PlantsThe Code of Handsome LakeThe Seneca ProphetThe Constitution of the Five Nations, and The Archeological History of New York as well as articles on Iroquois history and culture. His dioramas depicting Iroquois life in the past set a new professional standard in museum exhibits and incorporated numerous items commissioned from Iroquois craftspeople.