Mayborn Museum To Host Lectures On Culture Of Plains Indians

Feb. 14, 2005

by Sarah Levine

Where do you get a real tipi? That was one of the many questions the museum staff of Baylor University faced as they were planning the exhibits for the new Harry and Anna Jeanes Discovery Center, the centerpiece of the Mayborn Museum Complex.

The quest for an authentically built Plains Indian tipi led to Larry Belitz, who will return to Waco to present lectures on the culture of the Plains Indians at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19. Belitz will discuss tipi making and etiquette and the many uses of the buffalo. Visitors also will have a chance to ask questions and talk to Belitz after the lecture.

"When Mr. Belitz was here creating the tipi for our Texas Lifeways Exhibit, he took time to explain to our education staff about the hide preparation and construction of the tipi. His talk was so interesting that soon other staff members and construction workers were gathered around to listen," said Dr. Ellie Caston, director of the Mayborn Museum. "We found his information about the buffalo and the Comanche culture so fascinating; we wanted to bring him back to share his stories with the community."

While Belitz is in Waco, he also will present special talks at the Mayborn for museum members, high school history teachers, and Baylor faculty, staff and students.

Belitz has served as a technical and historical advisor on 10 major films, including "Maverick," "The Alamo" and "Dances with Wolves." He also has constructed replicas of historic items for Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, and for the new National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Known for muscle sewing and historically correct bison-hide tipi construction, Belitz first coined the term "brain-tanning" with his book, Step by Step, Brain-Tanning the Sioux Way.

Admission to the museum is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children. There is no additional charge for the lectures. Members' admission is free. The Mayborn Museum Complex is located at 1300 S. University Parks Dr. and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; until 8 p.m. Thursday; and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call (254) 710-1110, or go to

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