Native American artifacts, once stockpiled in teepees along the Delaware River, are now enjoying their Pocono Indian Museum renaissance.
An East Stroudsburg antebellum-style manse houses the attraction, which first opened in 1976 and has spent the last four decades guiding visitors through a decorously curated time capsule. Indeed, more than just a kitschy tourist trap, this Pocono stalwart entertains as well as informs. “We trace the history of indigenous tribes through dioramas of ancient relics that form a chronological commentary on life among the Indians,” explains Malcolm Law who, along with wife Margaret, own and operate the Museum.
That this is the only exhibit in Northeast PA dedicated to the lineage of the Lenape isn’t lost on modern-day pilgrims who sojourn here. “It’s an interesting place to find out about the early Delaware Indian tribe who dwelled in our area for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans,” says Sciota resident Betty Ackerman. “The displays contribute information on their housing, foods, weapons, and medicine. I felt like I was part of a pow-wow.”
The totem pole culture is represented through a wide array of souvenirs. “There’s an amazing gift shop: lots of crafts from all over the US and Canada, including handmade replicas of pottery, dolls, jewelry, and clothing, along with bows and arrows,” enthuses Ackerman’s husband Lance. “On the second floor, you’ll discover an extensive library with hundreds of volumes for sale on Native American customs.”
It takes approximately thirty minutes to complete an audio tour through the presentation. “We will educate and, perhaps, shock you. It depicts man from 10,500 BC to the contact period with European man prior to the American Revolution and shows the Lenape’s peaceful harmony with other Indians. Lastly, we outline the short and shocking 100 years it took these Europeans to virtually eliminate any trace of Lenape existence,” Law says.
“You can’t help but learn a lot. After listening to the audio, Lance and I took the kids through a second time, because there were a few areas the tour didn’t directly address. Charts and models bring the timeframe to life rather starkly,” adds Betty.
Open year-round, the Laws’ establishment volunteers guide services to groups of twenty or more who call ahead for reservations. “I bring my extended family to the Pocono Indian Museum every Thanksgiving,” declares Crystal Wasko, of nearby Bushkill. “It’s the perfect tie-in to our holiday weekend.”
A four-day staycation that includes learning about maize and leaving with a pair of moccasins? Sounds like the ideal accompaniment to turkey and all the trimmings.
By: Tom Eccleston
Pocono Indian Museum
5905 Milford Road
5425 Milford Road, East Stroudsburg, PA