Visiting Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian

During your visit to this Amarillo museum, the traditions of the Native peoples of the Plains and the Southwest will come to life through fine paintings, bronzes, fine old beadwork and material culture items. Be sure to stop by the Trading Post to shop for one-of-a-kind items crafted by Pueblo and Plains Indian artisans.

Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian Collection

The Works of Thomas E. Mails

Significant holdings within the Museum’s collection include works by the late artist and author, Thomas E. Mails who developed a passion as an artist and an abiding interest in the old ways of the American Indian from an early age. After attending a seminar in Amarillo hosted by Clara Webb of Webb Galleries of Amarillo and Santa Fe, Mails befriended the Kwahadi program and gifted the Museum 100 of his paintings, native artifacts he had collected from pawn shops and stores over the years, 3,000 books and 5,000 photographs taken during his journeys with Native folk. Additionally Thomas Mails transferred his original manuscripts, research notes and prime sources to the Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian. Today you can see Mails’ beautiful and insightful paintings, many used for illustrations in his books, on display with numerous related cultural items in the Museum.

The Works of Tom Knapp

The Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian houses an impressive collection of the bronze castings of Tom Knapp, a Disney artist who brilliantly captured the spirit, dress and style of Native Americans during his career. Many of Tom Knapp’s works were cast by Walter Raleigh, a former gallery owner and bronze caster from Ruidoso, New Mexico. Raleigh cast the bronze works for Tom Knapp and kept one of each for his fee. Tom Knapp’s collection can be seen on display at the Museum. Individual pieces of Walter Raleigh’s valuable collection are for sale in the Museum’s Trading Post. 

Additional Works in the Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian Collection

Additional holdings found on view at the Museum include Perry Null’s Game animals of the Plains. Carefully carved birds of the High Plains by Bob Jones are also exhibited within the Museum.

Shopping in the Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian Trading Post

The Kwahadi Trading Post sells the works of over 100 Native craftsmen of the Plains and Southwest. Shop a wide selection of Native American crafted jewelry and crafts from the New Mexico Pueblos of Santo Domingo, Zuni, Cochiti, Santa Clara, or Taos and from villages of the Hopi people of Arizona. Additional items found in the Trading Post include Navajo rugs, Katchina dolls, pottery and contemporary crafts. Souvenir items include t-shirts, caps, posters, patches and postcards. Collectible items on display and for sale offer a unique opportunity for the discriminating collector: books and prints by Thomas E. Mails, fine silver and turquoise jewelry and pieces from the personal collection of Walter Raleigh are available to view and purchase.

Travel Tip

-          Bring your camera. There will be exciting photo opportunities during your visit to the Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian.