Curtis traveled by foot, wagon drawn by horses or oxen, mule, boat, train, and auto. He wrapped everything he brought in waterproof and dustproof canvas, including:
During their 6-month research seasons (May to October), Curtis and his assistants worked 16 hours per day, seven days a week. When documenting Indian customs and traditions, Curtis interviewed his subjects through an interpreter while an assistant took shorthand notes of the interpreter's English translation. Before bed, Curtis' assistant typed up that day's notes for reference the next day. He and Curtis constantly checked their fresh observations against published studies.