Currently, the Ohio University’s Kennedy Museum of Art has two exhibits featuring a selection of the museum’s over seven hundred Navajo weavings dating from 1865 to 2004. The first exhibit, Teec Nos Pos, runs until Septemebr 28 and features weavings from the Teec Nos Pos Navajo community in northeastern Arizona and the second, Navajo Germantown Samplers, runs until March 10 and showcases weaving samplers that “incorporate multiple design styles in a singular weaving.”
In these exhibits, one can see the influence of the railroad on Navajo weaving. For example, originally most Navajo pieces had no border. The lack of border let the viewer know that the piece was not meant to be perfect and there was room for improvement. With trains came more influence from the east coast and borders began appearing on rugs. Over time, these borders were linked to specific families and were used by traders to identify the weaver.
The Germantown in the title of the second exhibit doesn't refer to a place, but rather to a machine-made aniline-dyed yarn manufactured in Pennsylvania. It wasn’t until the 1880s and the emergence of the railroad that Navajo weavers started using this yarn.