This exhibit celebrates the 25th anniversary of the return of the Spalding-Allen Collection to the Nez Perce Tribe. Reverend Henry H. Spalding acquired the artifacts from the Nez Perce between1836 and 1846. The featured clothing and horse regalia are the earliest documented items of Nez Perce material culture.
The collection was subsequently sent to Spalding's benefactor Dr. Dudley Allen. In 1893, after Allen’s death, his son donated the collection to Oberlin College. Oberlin loaned most of the collection to the Ohio Historical Society, now known as the Ohio History Connection.
The collection was rediscovered in 1976. A loan, starting in 1980, was negotiated to display the items at Nez Perce National Historical Park. In 1993, the Ohio History Connection asked for return of the collection. The organization agreed to sell the collection to the Nez Perce. The Tribe was given six months to raise funds. With the help of thousands of donors, the Nez Perce raised the required amount and purchased the collection.
On June 26, 1996, the Nez Perce brought home this rare and well-preserved collection. It will be re-named on June 26, 2021 in Spalding, Idaho where Spalding collected the artifacts.