Molly Neptune Parker, American (Passamaquoddy), born 1939

Acorn basket

  • 2008
  • Brown ash and sweetgrass; brown dye
  • 6 1/2 × 4 1/4 in.

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College Purchased through the Alvin and Mary Bert Gutman ’40 Acquisition Fund; 2008.50.2

visibilityLook & Discuss

The Wabanaki gathered acorns in autumn when they fell from the trees. They roasted the acorns whole or boiled and mashed them. They stirred them into soups and boiled them for their oil. They also ground acorns into flour, which they mixed with cornmeal to make breads or puddings. 

Explore the Object

In this basket, Molly Neptune Parker captured the look and feel of the acorn in her choice of materials. She wove thin strips of brown-dyed ash into a flat weave for the smooth, lower part of the nut, and used dried, braided sweetgrass for the cap. She also constructed her basket in two parts, like an acorn, whose cap can easily be removed.

Meet the Artist

Image8 Clara Neptune Keezer.jpg

Molly Neptune Parker has been weaving baskets since childhood, when she would practice with scraps of ash leftover from her mother’s baskets. Her mother, aunts, and grandmother were basket weavers. Today, her children and grandchildren are also basket weavers.

She is particularly well known for her acorn-shaped baskets and for baskets with flowers fashioned on the lid. She has played an important role in passing on basket weaving skills not only to her own family, but to other young people, to ensure the continuance of this art form. She has won many awards including the First People’s Fund’s Community Spirit Award.

Learn More


Watch Molly Neptune Parker prepare ash splints and share her family history on the YouTube channel of the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine.


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