The indigenous heritage of Alaska and adjacent regions, including the arts, knowledge, values, and beliefs of native communities, finds a wider audience in a growing online collection.

The Arctic Studies Center houses an extensive collection of items from Alaska and northeast Siberia that are part of the cultures and history of over 150,000 indigenous residents living there today. This Web project makes these objects accessible to the public and puts rarely exhibited or seen items—collected primarily during the mid-19th to mid-20th century—on view. Drawing on collaborative commentary from elders in these indigenous communities, this project elaborates the historical, material, artistic, and cultural aspects of these objects. Visitors can learn about each of the primary cultures, search or take tours through the collection, and in a unique interface items can be rapidly browsed and cross-filtered according to cultures and thematic categories. Records for each item present commentary from elders, an item’s history, visitor comments, and images of the item—including maps locating each item in its geographic origin.

For complete project credits visit: secondstory.com/portfolio/works/alaska-native-collections-sharing-knowledge

National Museum of Natural History (Arctic Studies Center), Smithsonian Institution

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