I had the great pleasure to visiting the Rubin Museum of Art this weekend in southern Manhattan. This beautiful space always has stunning exhibits, but the beads this time are amazing.
There is a fabulous exhibit of Naga artifacts, including numerous beads and textiles. There large black and white photos of the Naga taken in 1937 wearing traditional costume are marvelous (see the picture below). Best of all, the tags and descriptors are incredibly descriptive and informative, talking about both the materials, technique and cultural significance of each item. (A real improvement over so many generic museum descriptors, i.e., "one glass bead".) I really feel like I learned something about Naga culture.
As an added treat, there is the fabulous Prayer Bead display in the basement, with over 100 fabulous examples of Prayer Beads, which I know has been mentioned here before. The exhibits at the Rubin change on a regular basis, but these are two of my favorites and must for any beaders passing through NYC.