The collection may be described quite directly. Although the Hirschfields' first acquisitions were baskets, which stillremain significant, the great strength-the collection's real core-consists of Plains and Plateau beadwork. Selected worksfrom the Southwest are joined with these two groups, and all are integrated throughout the house. Within these three broad categories are objects of many kinds, some acquired as singular examples and others collected in number, ranging from two or three to large concentrations. Although most pieces date from the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth, the collection also contains a number of works dating from the third quarter of the nineteenth century or before.
A range of artistic traditions may also be found in the collection. Objects from the three sub-regions of the Plainsare perhaps most heavily represented. From the Central Plains are works from the Sioux (Lakota, Yankton/Yanktonai and Dakota) and Métis-Sioux as well as the Northern Arapaho and Northern Cheyenne. Northern Plains groups are represented by pieces from the Assiniboine, Plains Cree, Métis, Crow and Blackfeet, and from the Southern Plains are objects from the Kiowa, Comanche, Southern Cheyenne, Southern Arapaho and Ute.