University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Greenland Inuit Doll

Eskimo (Inuit) doll from Arsuk, Greenland. Photo by Margaret Bruchac with permission of the Penn Museum. Museum Object Number: 37-14-7.

By: Margaret Bruchac

The Lady in Furs Object Analysis and Report for Anthropology of Museums by Monica Fenton This Inuit (Eskimo) doll, accessioned in 1937 (37-14-7), is one of seventeen objects from Greenland donated by Samuel C. Ingraham. The collection, consisting mostly of footwear, also includes a model kayak with a human figurine and miniature harpoon. The doll came from […]

Ladies in Fur, Traveling through Time

Eskimo (Inuit) doll from Arsuk, Greenland. Photo by Margaret Bruchac with permission of the Penn Museum. Museum Object Number: 37-14-7.

By: Margaret Bruchac

The Penn Museum holds a variety of dolls from Arctic environs, including those collected by William Van Valin, George Byron Gordon, Captain George Comer, and the Peary Relief Expedition. Most of the items classified as “dolls” are small wooden figures; only a few represent realistic renditions of Arctic clothing. This Inuit (Eskimo) doll from Greenland (object […]

Inuit Kamik from Greenland

Elizabth Peng and Karen Thomson, Curatorial Assistant at the Penn Museum, examine the lining of these Eskimo (Inuit) boots.

By: Margaret Bruchac

Fashion: Fur, Flowers, and Flannel Object Analysis and Report for Anthropology of Museums by Elizabeth Peng The clothes that we put on our bodies are rarely simple: they are imbued with cultural and aesthetic purposes that cannot be easily disconnected from the materials from which they are constructed. A myriad of factors come together to create the […]

Arctic Dance House Model

Kuskokwim umiak identified as “Happy Traveler Canoe.” Photo by Margaret Bruchac, with permission of Penn Museum. Museum Object Number NA1521.

By: Margaret Bruchac

Kuskokwim Dance House Object Analysis and Report for Anthropology of Museums by Michele Belluomini This Inuit (Eskimo) Model Dance House (object #NA1522) in the Penn Museum’s Arctic collections drew my attention because it seemed very mysterious, but also like something I “knew.” The more I studied it, the more I realized that much more was going on […]

Alaska Harpoon Rest

Figure 1: Alaskan Harpoon Rest from the Sledge Island Van Valin Collection. Photo with permission from the University of Pennsylvania Museum

By: Margaret Bruchac

Alaska Harpoon Rest: Supported by Bears, Whales, and Chains Object Analysis and Report for Anthropology of Museums by Enika Selby This Iñupiaq (also called Eskimo or Inuit) harpoon rest (Museum Object Number: NA4796) came to the Penn Museum from Sledge Island, Alaska, a tiny island off the Western coast. It is hand carved from walrus ivory, […]

Deep Description and Reflexivity: Methods for Recovering Object Histories

Enika Selby in the Penn Museum Archives, examining photos of Inuit women in fur garments. Photo by Margaret Bruchac.

By: Margaret Bruchac

This semester, students in my Anthropology of Museums class learned new methods for analyzing objects in museum collections by using both “deep description” and “object reflexivity.” Students were trained to combine material analysis, ethnographic data, archival research, and critical scholarship to identify and document object histories. They also gained practice in examining methods of construction, curation, and […]

Art from the Archives: Northwest Coast and Inuit Prints and Drawings

Tim Paul
Silkscreen print on whitewove paper, 1993
Collected by Ruben Reina, Museum Expedition, 1994

By: Leanna Kolonauski

Stowed away in the Archives of the Penn Museum is an extremely interesting collection.  Prints of bold patterned scenes, affectionate polar bears swimming in the sea, and downright unusual images make up the collection of art made by indigenous people of the Northwest Coast.  This summer, as an intern in the archives, I had the […]

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