Wampum World is about wampum, which is made from shell. Historically it had manifold functions for Native Americans in various aspects of their societies and is still today considered sacred. In contrast Dutch settlers, having recognized the value of wampum for Native Americans, used wampum in exchange with European goods in order to procure beaver pelts, as part of the 17th c. trade triangle ‘beaver, wampum, hoes’. Metal coinage was not readily available in ‘New Netherland’ and therefore wampum served as a currency. Wampum World visually elucidates this historical exchange system and present day usages of wampum from various perspectives.
Wampum World attempts to facilitate a greater understanding of wampum to the general public, not only a historical document or medium of exchange, but in regard to its modern day usages and meanings as a ‘cultural currency’.