National Museum of the American Indian: Native New York


C&G Partners

Concept and design development, production


Bruce Chao

Native New York is an exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian that delves into the vast history of the New York land we live in, and its relevence today.
Long before there was a New York State, its lands encompassed thousands of Native towns, cornfields, fishing grounds, and territories. Europeans migrated to these lands, intending to stay. This forced some Native New Yorkers to seek safety elsewhere.

Other Native people managed to remain,and their descendants live here today. Still other Native communities moved into New York, seeking alliances and new homes.

Today these Native people all remain deeply connected to their New York homelands.

Exploration & Intrigue

Who is a Native New Yorker? Why does the past matter? What makes a place home? The exhibition attempts to provide an answer to these questions.

The exhibit story-telling centers around exploration and intrigue, taking the young visitors through series of encounters, with help from vibrant and animated illustrations, tactile and interactive experiences.

Each element in the exhibit aim to be informative, accessible, memorable, yet emotive.


The exhibit media enliven the stories and tales in the exhibition. Taking many forms—some linear, to be watched in its entirety as you would a documentary; some interactive, informative to etch a part of history in our young visitor’s minds; and some ambient, creating a sense of place, as suggestive with the vast murals that wraps around the exhibit.

Visual approach
We established a colorful illustration style that uses fluid sillhouettes and shapes in the murals, illustrated by Daniel G. Rodriguez. The multimedia component of the exhibit takes this visual approach, and bring it into a realm with depth, but keeping the undertones of layering, abstraction, and light/shadows.

Additional illustrations by Yvetta Fedorova.


Bruce Chao, 2018

In the process of being