Skip to main content

Made in the Americas Gallery (Gallery)

This thematic gallery, which bridges the collections of ancient America and American art, showcases the interconnectedness of the colonial Americas, both hemispherically and with other parts of the world. The works in this gallery highlight how cross-cultural contact, global influences, and international encounters and exchange have defined American artistic production since the invasion of European colonizers in the fifteenth century.

The stories explored tell of the extraction and export of natural resources; the transmission of materials, styles, and techniques across continents; the skill and expert craftmanship of enslaved laborers and artisans who were forced to work on the land and in the shops of wealthy, white colonial merchants; and the dependence of the early American luxury economy and its material aspirations on exploitative labor and land practices.

Expanding on canonical definitions of “American art,” artists, makers, and participants in the production of these objects include Indigenous peoples of North, Central and South America, as well as colonial Americans, European settlers, and African American makers.

Lauren Applebaum
Jim and Betty Becher Curator of American Art

Ángel González López
Research Curator, Ancient American Collection


Listen to Danielle Centeno talk about the importance of chocolate in her life and in parts of history. She is the owner of Escazú Chocolates in downtown Raleigh. Watch her sort through cacao beans and then create a delicious final product.


Watch artist Suijin Li create a silver necklace that you can purchase in the Museum Store. She also discusses the importance of silver as an artistic medium.