Wampum Making with Arthur Kirmss

Known as wampum or sewant, these tubular shell beads came to serve as a medium of exchange among Europeans and Indians in colonial North America. Rather than silver coins, the Dutch typically used wampum to purchase not only beaver pelts from Indians but also real property and goods from other settlers.

Artist, writer, and re-enactor Arthur Kirmss explains the history of wampum and demonstrates how the shell beads were made, using reproduction tools and 17th-century techniques.  Learn more about Arthur and his work at www.arthurkirmss.net

About the New Netherland Institute

For over three decades, NNI has helped cast light on America's Dutch roots. In 2010, it partnered with the New York State Office of Cultural Education to establish the New Netherland Research Center, with matching funds from the State of the Netherlands. NNI is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. More

The New Netherland Research Center

Housed in the New York State Library, the NNRC offers students, educators, scholars and researchers a vast collection of early documents and reference works on America's Dutch era. More


Subscribe Now

Subscribe to NNI's  e-Marcurius and DAG to receive information about New Netherland-related events, activities, conferences, and research. 


Support NNI

By supporting NNI you help increase awareness of the 17th century Dutch colony of New Netherland and its legacy in America.