55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
Regular Hours:


9:30 am – 5:00 pm


11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:


8:30 – 9:30 am


10:00 – 11:00 am

Please note: The Academy will be closing at 3:00 pm on 10/24 (final entry at 2:00 pm). We apologize for any inconvenience.

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Upper Gallery Exhibit

Evolving Traditions: Southwest Native Pottery and Silver

Drawn from the Academy’s anthropology collections, this exhibit highlights Native American pottery and silver jewelry created by members of the Navajo, Hopi and Zuni tribes and by the Rio Grande Pueblos.

About the Exhibit


This exhibit, located on the Upper Gallery on Level 3, features pieces that range from the dramatic black-on-black pottery of Maria and Julian Martinez to the wrought silver bracelets of Kenneth Begay and others. Many of the objects are part of the Elkus Collection, a gift from the family of San Franciscans Charles and Ruth Elkus, who collected extensively from the 1920’s to the early 1960’s. Later works received from other donors are also included. Together, the older and contemporary examples document that certain designs and patterns persist and are carried on by successive generations and also are simultaneously modified as the tradition evolves. A series of video images shows potters and jewelers at work.

Featured Artists

  • Maria and Julian Martinez: Potters who are credited with initiating the art market for pottery in the 1920s with their black-on-black pottery from San Ildefonso Pueblo.
  • Lucy Lewis: A potter who revived ancient black & white pottery designs at Acoma Pueblo.
  • Nampeyo: A Hopi-Tewa potter whose work was collected by the Smithsonian as early as the 1890s. Matriarch of 5 succeeding generations of potters.
  • Charles Loloma: A Hopi jeweler who revolutionized native jewelry through innovative designs and use of gold and exotic stones.
  • Kenneth Begay: A Navajo jeweler who set the standard for succeeding generations through his emphasis on precision and simplicity of design.
  • Ambrose Roanhorse: A Navajo jeweler who taught many of the leading Navajo silversmiths in the 2nd quarter of the 20th century.

About the Pieces Pictured

Listed in order of appearance above

Navajo beetle pin
Artist unknown
Circa 1940-1955
Bequest of Ruth and Charles Elkus

Hopi-Tewa jar with migration pattern
Made by Nampeyo
Circa 1905
Gift of Elizabeth MacFarland

Cochiti Pueblo storyteller figurine
Made by Dorothy Trujillo
Circa 1980-1985
Gift of Marie Tilson

Museum Hours


Monday - Saturday

9:30 am - 5:00 pm


11:00 am - 5:00 pm

Tickets can be purchased up to an hour before closing.

The Academy is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.



Admission to the California Academy of Sciences includes access to all museum and aquarium exhibits, including the rainforest, the planetarium, the living roof, and Evolving Traditions during regular admission hours.

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This exhibit is located in the Upper Gallery on Level 3.

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Behind the Scenes


Here is a behind the scenes look into preparing this exhibit. Right-click for Full Screen menu option.

Department of


Visit the Academy’s Department of Anthropology website to learn about research projects, meet the staff, explore online exhibits and more.

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