Object photography

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Object description

  • Penobscot artist
  • Needle case, early 20th century
  • Wool, cotton, glass
  • Northeastern United States
  • L: 6 1/4 in, W: 3 3/4 in (L: 15.9 cm, W: 9.5 cm)
  • Museum Purchase, 1947
  • E27329
  • Floral motifs appealed to a Victorian aesthetic
  • Marketed to tourists as useful sewing accessory

At the turn of the 20th century, Native artists in Northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada were making objects for sale, especially to visitors at tourist destinations, such as coastal Maine where this was likely purchased. Adapting traditional materials and motifs, they made items popular at that time, such as this floral beaded case for sewing needles, as well as other items that could be used or displayed in homes.


This needle case is made out of black wool and heavily beaded with floral designs. White beads are sewn around the edge of the case as well as the flap. Strips of red-orange cloth hang from the bottoms of the flap and the hook, most likely used to securely close the hook.