Native American Heritage

Record Group 435: Indian Arts and Crafts Board

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The National Archives houses historical records of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) in Record Group 435. These records include correspondence, publications, reports, and photographs related to American Indian art and craftwork.




Agency Overview

The IACB was established in the Department of the Interior by an act of Congress on August 27, 1935.  Charged with advancing “the economic welfare of the Indian tribes . . . through the development of Indian arts and crafts” (49 Stat. 891), the IACB was part of the “Indian New Deal,” a series of laws passed during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration to reform federal Indian policy and improve economic conditions for tribes.

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Southern Plains Indian Museum and Crafts Center

The IACB helps American Indian artists from federally recognized tribes gain exposure for their work and assists federally recognized tribes with developing frameworks for preserving tribal cultural activities. The IACB also implements and enforces the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, which “prohibits misrepresentation in the marketing of Indian art and craft products within the United States.” From the U.S. Department of the Interior, learn more about the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990

The IACB regularly publishes directories of genuine Indian-owned arts and crafts businesses. They also operate three regional museums that showcase and celebrate Indian art and craftwork: the Sioux Indian Museum in South Dakota, the Museum of the Plains Indian in Montana, and the Southern Plains Indian Museum in Oklahoma. The IACB is headquartered in Washington, DC, and formerly operated field offices in select states.

The IACB is overseen by up to five commissioners, who are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior for four-year terms. Today, commissioners are often enrolled members of federally recognized tribes who are themselves artists.

From the U.S. Department of the Interior, learn more about the IACB

Records Overview

Textual Records

Note: Most IACB records are not yet digitized.

Textual records of the IACB are housed at different National Archives research facilities, depending on the location of the IACB office.

Select series are listed below. For the full archival records descriptions in the National Archives Catalog, please select the National Archives Identifiers provided.

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IACB jurisdiction plan, Pima Agency

For questions related to these series, please contact the research facility where the records are housed.

Headquarters Records (National Archives in Washington, DC)

  • “Records Relating to Exhibits and Expositions, 1939–1941” (National Archives Identifier 12017289)

  • “Records Relating to the Organization of the Board, 1937–1943” (National Archives Identifier 12019555)

  • “Publications and Reports Relating to Indian Arts and Crafts, 1935–1963” (National Archives Identifier 12019556)

  • “Correspondence Relating to Misrepresentations of Native American Arts and Crafts, 1935–1980” (National Archives Identifier 12019558)

  • “Records Regarding Native American Arts and Handicrafts, 1935–1988” (National Archives Identifier 12019562)

  • “Records Relating to Arts and Crafts Programs in the Southwest and Southern Plains, 1949–1973” (National Archives Identifier 12019563)

Alaska Area Office (National Archives at Seattle)

Arizona Field Agents (National Archives at Riverside)

Cherokee (NC) Field Office (National Archives at Atlanta)

  • “Cherokee Field Office Records, 1968–1983” (National Archives Identifier 281596)

Oklahoma Area Field Office (National Archives at Fort Worth)

  • “Correspondence and Reports, 1935–1967” (National Archives Identifier 1698717)

Portland Area Office (National Archives at Seattle)

  • “Field Office Records, 1936–1968” (National Archives Identifier 645752)

Southwest Area Office (National Archives at Denver)

  • “Correspondence and Presentation Albums, 1935–1969” (National Archives Identifier 1497229)

  • “Field Office Records, 1935–1983” (National Archives Identifier 12008288)

Photographs and Graphic Works

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“Lula O. Gloyne, Eastern Cherokee, Cherokee Community, Does Weaving and Basketry”

The Still Picture Branch at the National Archives at College Park, MD, houses photographs, prints, and associated textual materials maintained by the IACB.  These images document collections located at the IACB’s three museums, as well as artwork featured in IACB-sponsored exhibits at other institutions. Also included are images used in IACB educational materials.

Select series are listed below. For the full archival records descriptions in the National Archives Catalog, please select the National Archives Identifiers provided.

  • “Photographic Prints of Indian Life, Cultural Events, and Arts and Crafts, 1963–1981” (National Archives Identifier 558611)

  • “Photographs of Arts and Crafts in the Alaska State Museum and the Alaska Historical Museum, ca. 1960–ca. 1960” (National Archives Identifier 558609)

  • “Photographs of Eastern Cherokee and Other Native American Artist and Craftspeople Files, 1950–1983” (National Archives Identifier 558620)

  • “Textual Materials and Photographs of Indian Arts and Crafts Sponsored Exhibitions and Events Board Sponsored Exhibitions and Events Arts and Crafts, 1939–1981” (National Archives Identifier 558612)

For more information on IACB photographic materials, please contact the Still Picture Branch at

Additional Resources