The exhibition Raven's Journey: The World of Alaska's Native People is now closed. Created in 1986 by Susan Kaplan and Kristen Barsness, Raven’s Journey interpreted the vibrant cultural traditions of the Tlingit, Athapaskan, and Eskimo peoples who have inhabited the western arctic of North America for millennia. Penn Museum’s Conservation and American Section teams are de-installing and condition-reporting the objects, and will be returning them to collections storage. Many objects that contain organic materials such as hair, hide, feathers, and plant materials will be frozen to stave off possible pest infestation before being re-shelved. Although these objects will receive a well-deserved rest in storage, they will continue to be made available for study by students, Native American artists, and scholars from around the world.
Many of the objects in the exhibition are of interest to native peoples living in Alaska today. Through NAGPRA, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990, Native Americans and Native Hawaiians are claiming human remains, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony held in museums across the country. Penn Museum is presently evaluating several active repatriation claims, and views the law as an opportunity to engage with Native Americans on important issues related to the revitalization of native communities.
An exhibit guide, Raven's Journey: The World of Alaska's Native People by Susan Kaplan, published in 1986, is currently out of print, but available in the Penn Museum Archives and the Penn Library.