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By Haley Bryant This object, affiliated with the ‘Eskimo’, today known as Inuit, cultural group, is indexed in our catalog as a ‘hat’ but it more likely would have been worn over the face like a mask. In fact, the catalog information describes it as a ‘disguise’ to be worn... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Magnetic North
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By Daniel Kellam This half-moon soapstone bowl is much more than what it appears. Our catalog information indicates this stone lamp was attributed to the “Eskimo”, today known as Inuit, cultural group. This lamp was collected by Captain C.F. Hall in 1871 in Repulse Bay, Canada. The stone bowl would... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2017 at Magnetic North
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By Daniel Kellam Americans, along with many other peoples around the world, have an obsession with their coffee. We drink it everyday, often in large amounts. We have ceramic mugs, travel mugs, color changing mugs, and even disposable stryofoam coffee cups. What does one do when none of these resources... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2017 at Magnetic North
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By Daniel Kellam This pair of summer boots comes from Russian Siberia and are attributed to the Chukchi peoples. Originally collected in 1863 on the J. Rodgers & United States North Pacific Exploring and Surveying Expedition, they are manufactured out of dressed animal skins. According to notes left by Dr.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2017 at Magnetic North
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For more information or to request a visitor badge contact RecoveringVoices@si.edu Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2017 at Magnetic North
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By Daniel Kellam. In modern times, if the weather turns bad and you get caught in the rain you grab an umbrella or perhaps a lightweight nylon rain jacket from a popular outdoor company. But what if you don’t have access to resources like those and you need to rely... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2017 at Magnetic North
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By Emily Cain Can you guess what these colorful bracelets are made of? They each have borders of small white beads, but most of what you’re seeing is porcupine quill embroidery! Porcupine quills are commonly used decoratively across North America. The quills are flattened and dyed, then folded and sewn... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2017 at Magnetic North
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By Emily Cain Bow drills are a practical object; they allow the user to harness friction to drill holes or start fires. This “toy” version was collected by Edward Nelson at St. Michael in Norton Sound, Alaska, and came to the museum in 1878. It may have been used by... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2017 at Magnetic North
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By By Emily Cain & Haley Bryant In recognition of our 20th collections highlight, we’d like to not only share yet another great object, but also give you a glimpse into our process at the Circumpolar Ethnology Imaging Project. Learn more about the project’s origins in our introductory post! This... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2017 at Magnetic North
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Teachers, introduce your students to a career in archaeology. Join us October 19 for a live online “Smithsonian Science How” text chat with Bill Fitzhugh about his job as an archaeologist studying culture and climate change in the Arctic. Learn more and register. Date: October 19, 2017 Times: 11 a.m.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2017 at Magnetic North
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Can you guess what this object is? It’s a mousetrap! It is hard to say exactly how it was used to catch mice since we can’t watch it in action, do you have any ideas? Have you ever seen any traps like this before? This trap was collected by Edward... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2017 at Magnetic North
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How would you play with this toy? This game, “Tapaga ‘Towan”, is called both a “Ring-and-Pin game” and a “Cup-and-Pin game” in our records. It was played by tossing the cups in the air and trying to catch them on the pin. It is made out of fibers of dressed... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2017 at Magnetic North
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While this object looks like it may have been used as a hunting implement or food processor, it was actually used to scrape the inside of hides as they were being processed. This flesher, or “Machequat” according to the information we have, is made of iron or steel, fibers, and... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2017 at Magnetic North
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This dart was used as part of a game. According to our catalogue information, boys and men would set up a series of stakes at which they would throw these darts, attempting to knock them down. The person who was able to take down the most stakes would win the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2017 at Magnetic North
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This pair is just one example of the many different, beautiful moccasins we have in our collections from very diverse cultural groups. These moccasins, made out of leather and decorated with cloth and glass beads, are associated with the Innu or Naskapi people. They were collected by Dr. William Strong... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2017 at Magnetic North
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This small brush-like object that looks like a bundle of porcupine quills is actually a comb cleaner and is affiliated with the Innu people of Northern Quebec, Canada. It was collected by Rev. John M. Cooper near James Bay and donated to the museum in 1956 by the Catholic University... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2017 at Magnetic North
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One of the first words to come to mind when looking through the Innu objects in our collections is ‘colorful’! The Innu people, often referred to as ‘Montagnais’—the name given to them by French colonizers, continue to live in the region of Northern Quebec, Canada. Glass beads and a wide... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2017 at Magnetic North
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At first glance, it isn’t obvious what this object might be used for. This tool, affiliated with the Innu (then known as the Naskapi) cultural group, served as a painting stick to decorate robes and other clothing. This particular paint bone was collected from Ungava Bay, Quebec, Canada by Lucien... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2017 at Magnetic North
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Intrepid explorer Captain Charles Francis Hall collected this Inuit drinking tube, carved from a narwhal tooth during one of three Arctic research expeditions he conducted during his lifetime. There are a number of objects in our collections that are made of or contain narwhal ivory. The material is very versatile... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2017 at Magnetic North
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These three tools fit together to make a drill! The thin object with the metal nib (like a drill bit we might use today) is placed point-down on the object to be drilled, the fiber of the bow implement is wrapped around the drill bit, and the larger wooden piece... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2017 at Magnetic North
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We know from the catalogue information that this incredible painted, wooden box was collected not just from the Yukon River Delta, but specifically from Pastolik. It was collected and donated by Edward Nelson and accessioned in 1897. Candace Greene, a North American ethnologist at NMNH, informed us that these boxes,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2017 at Magnetic North
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This delicate wooden object is a child’s game described in the catalogue information as a “Jumping-Jack”, made of carved wood and rope made of sinew, gut, or baleen. You can make Jack jump by pulling apart the two long handles and bringing them back together quickly to make the small... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2017 at Magnetic North
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This very beautiful doll was collected by Edward Nelson in Kaialigamut in the Kuskokwim Delta and accessioned in 1879. It is impressively carved and beautifully adorned in a small outfit of calico and fur that is also intricately beaded. The dolls in our circumpolar collections vary greatly in size and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2017 at Magnetic North