Saturdays at the Museum: Wondering about Wampum


Although shell beads have been around for thousands of years, the cylindrical white and purple beads we recognize as wampum were only produced after European contact. Steel tools made drilling the long, small diameter holes possible. These beads held more value than their beauty. Colonists used them as currency. Native communities used them to commemorate significant events or send messages.

On Saturday, November 3, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., primitive lifeways specialist, Christine Applegate will explore the history and production of the beads from whelk and quahog shells and the techniques to weave them into belts. Try your hand using a pump drill to make a shell bead.

SATURDAYS AT THE MUSEUM, a series of special programs / lifeways demonstrations offered that celebrates the culture and heritage of this nation’s First Peoples. Please see the "events" section of our website at for listing of other demonstrations and programs.