“The collection is one of the best I have seen on my travels around the world.”
Archie Fire Lame Deer, Lakota, 1983
The Villa Bärenfett log cabin, over 90 years old, houses a collection on the cultural and historical living environments of the indigenous population of North America that is unique in Europe. Karl May’s widow Klara had it built as an illustration of May’s work. The “North American Indians” permanent exhibition includes ethnological objects from the 18th to 20th century, which reflects the great diversity of Indian cultures.
This includes clothing with splendid North American porcupine bristle and pearl ornamentation, elaborate carvings, precious pottery, impressive feather- and wickerwork, and most of all 16 life-size Indian figures. They were produced by different artists between 1928 and 1944 and have been fascinating visitors young and old since the museum opened in 1928.
Our interactive station for kids lets them experience the North American Indians’ living environment with a variety of senses.
The rustic Wild West room in Villa Bärenfett has a special, wild and romantic flair, welcoming our visitors with a fireplace, hunting trophies of North American fauna and its dark wooden panelling. The first museum manager, Patty Frank, used this backdrop to tell guests exciting Karl May-like stories of his adventurous travels based on his Indian collection, while dressed as a pioneer from the Wild West.
Our highlights at a glance:
- Collection on indigenous cultures of North America, with a unique cultural scope
- 16 life-sized costumed figures
- Historical diorama “Return from the battle” by Elk Eber and Vittorio Güttner
- Monumental painting “Indian battle on Little Bighorn” by Elk Eber (1936)
- Rustic Wild West fireplace room
Don’t forget to visit our “Karl May – Life and Work” permanent exhibition in Karl May’s former home, Villa Shatterhand!
Information on our current showcase and annual exhibitions is available here.