Adding Your Collection to Splendid Heritage


The Splendid Heritage Web Site was initially built in 2004. Our goal then was to display an American Indian Art Collection of about 500 objects that was acquired from the Masco Corporation. Because information about these objects was constantly being updated, we felt that the site should be constructed by computer programs rather than by hand. In this way, the site could be kept current and new items could be easily added.

In 2005, we decided that the site would be much more valuable as a research tool if other collections were added. In effect, we were constructing the beginnings of a new virtual research museum. It is our hope that we can aggregate many private and public collections in order to have a comprehensive site that deals with American Indian Art.

The Splendid Heritage web site is really quite simple. Each collection consists of three kinds of information:

Collection Introduction: This is a page of text that outlines the history and focus of the collection. This page of text can be submitted as a plain text file or a Microsoft Word file.

Object Data: Each object in the collection has data that tells about the object. The data fields include things like: Item number, Collection name, Region, Tribe, Category, Period, Dimensions, Materials, Description, Condition, Provenance, Exhibitions, References, and Notes. This data is submitted in the form of a Microsoft Excel File.

Object Photos: Each object should have at least one photo, and can have as many as four photos. These photos should be of high quality and can be submitted as JPEG files. Each photo should be named with the item name. For instance object WC8404003 might have two photographs. They shoul be named: "WC8404003-A.jpg" and "WC8404003-B". The photographs will be displayed in alphabetical order.

When taking photographs of objects, try to use a plain background, with soft lighting (strong shawdows are bad). If you are taking the photos outdoors, then you should wait for an overcast day. Do not use the flash on the camera (this will cause strong shawdows). Try to use natural light instead.

When we receive the above information, it is integrated with the other web site data, and a program is run which constructs the entire Splendid Heritage web site.

Getting Started

Hopefully, the following will answer most of your questions about adding your content to the Splendid Heritage website.

Here are the procedures for getting things started.

Download from this website, the: Excel Data Sheet, Regions document, Category document and the References document.

Data Sheet Details

Item:  The unique item number for the object. Each item shown on the website needs to have a unique number. This number will be the same number on the corresponding photograph of your item. You can choose the numbering system. The website will display the item in alphabetical order and then in numerical order. A sample item number might be: "WC00011" (here "WC" stands for Warnock Collection).

Date:  This is for your own use. You can choose to ignore it as we do not publish this on the website.

Collection: This is you; we list it as your last name or institution’s name.

Region:  See attached Regions document. These Region names are the ones that have been defined by the Smithsonian’s Handbook of the North American Indian. Please use only the Region names as listed in the Regions document. If you think there is a reason for a different Region name, please email me and let me know why.

Tribe:  See attached Regions document for a listing of all appropriate tribal names. Once again, these are the tribal names that have been defined by the Smithsonian’s Handbook of the American Indian.

Category:  Please use one of the categories in the attached Category’s document.  If you believe that a new category is needed, please email me with details.

Period:  Use only the 25 year increments as indicated on the website, i.e. 1825-1850. 

Dimensions:  The length, height and/or width of your object.

Materials:  The materials used to construct your item.

Description:  Describe your object in straightforward, concise way.

Condition:  Describe the condition of your object.

Provenance:  If your object has a known provenance, list it here.  If there is more than one, list the oldest one first. 

Exhibitions:  If your object has been publicly exhibited, list it here.  If it has been exhibited more than once, list them here in chronological order starting with the earliest. 

References:  If your object has been published, list it here.

Note:  There is no space for this on the Data Sheet. It is a separate document that more completely describes the object. See the bottom of WC8404003 in the Splendid Heritage website as an example. Send this "Note" document to me by email as either an MSWord document or a PDF file.

Now you can start adding additional items following the format already begun within your spreadsheet. Each line item now becomes its own data sheet. There are however, a few rules that must be followed when working in this electronic format.

Under Provenance, if there is more than one provenance, separate them with a $ sign.  This is necessary so that they are listed on separate lines on the web page.  As you type this out on the spreadsheet, finish your first (oldest) provenance with a period(.).  Immediately after the period (no spaces) enter $ and then list the next provenance, once again with no spaces after the $.

Under Exhibitions, if there has been more than one exhibition, separate each exhibition with a $ using the same methodology as explained above.

Under References, once again, use the same methodology as above if it is in multiple publications.

Under References, rather than requiring you to retype the common publishing data (author, editor, title, publisher, etc.), you should just enter the appropriate SH reference number (see the Reference document) and then the unique information such as page number or figure number.  Note:  the Reference number is three letters and 4 numbers, i.e. SHR0031 or SHP0003.  If you have references that are not listed, email me all of the appropriate information about the publication and I will assign that publication a new and unique SHR---- number (or SHP---- number if it is a periodical).

In the areas of Region, Tribe, Category and Period you can add modifying information.  After the Region, Tribe, Category or Period is typed, type a space then a hyphen, then a space…and then the modifying information.  Examples:  California – Lake Tahoe area; Arapaho – Cheyenne?; Garters – Garter pendants; 1850-1875 – 1860.

When typing information into the spreadsheet, you may be tempted to expand the columns, especially the Description column.  Try not to do this.  You will be able to see what you typed by double/clicking the appropriate box.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.  Just email me at