Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

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Alaksa Native Collection

National Museum of National History (Arctic Studies Center)
Second Story Interactive Studios

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. The National Museum of Natural History’s Alaska Native Collections 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, while introducing the particular cultures and languages to which they belong.To foster the project’s goal of facilitating cross-cultural learning among Indigenous communities, Second Story created an online collection that presents collected items within themes of community, ceremony, and environment. Within these themes, objects specific to a culture can be highlighted as well. Individual records for each item present commentary from elders, an item’s history, and images of the item—including maps locating each item in its geographic origin. This online collection allows the beauty and ingenuity of each object to take center stage, and promotes interest in the extraordinary arts and cultural heritage of the North.

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