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Our Collections

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Etched pebble showing a person in a birdskin parka. Koniag, Inc. Collection, Karluk One

Our Collections


The Alutiiq Museum cares for more than 250,000 items related to the culture and history of the Alutiiq people. Our holdings include the following types of collections:  archaeological materials, photographs, ethnographic objects, archival items, film & audio recordings, and natural history specimens. Browse each collection type below to learn more.

Our collections help to tell the Alutiiq story.  They reach beyond written records to reveal details from all eras of Alutiiq history - from ancient traditions to the daily lives of modern Alutiiqs. We use our collections to illustrate exhibits and education programs, provide information for research, and inspire the world to know more about the remarkable heritage of the Alutiiq people.

 
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Slate Points
Slate Points from the Malina Creek Site

Archaeological Collections

The Alutiiq Museum cares for over 100,000 historic and prehistoric artifacts from archaeological surveys and excavations, and their accompanying assemblages of animal remains, plant remains, and sediments samples.

The great majority of our archaeological collections come from the Kodiak archipelago.  These assemblages reflect all eras of archaeological research in the region, as well as the complete span of Alutiiq history - from Kodiak's colonization 7,500 years ago to the American era.  Most are from scientifically conducted studies, including many led by the Alutiiq Museum.

Read more: Archaeological Collections
 
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Erickson Family beside their Chignik home.
Erickson Collection.

Photographic Collections

The Alutiiq Museum cares for over 42,000 photographic images.  These collections include slides, prints, negatives, and digital images illustrating Alutiiq people, cultural activities, communities, heritage programs, archaeological excavations, and the Kodiak environment. Most of these images are color and date to the mid and late twentieth century.

Photographs are part of many of the museum's major collections.  They are associated with our archaeological, ethnographic, archival and natural history collections.  Images for which the museum does not hold copyright, nearly 11,000 pictures, reside in our library.

Photographs are among the most widely used museums collections.  People consult our photographs to study recent Alutiiq history, find pictures of family members, illustrate publications, and learn about traditions.

Read more: Photographic Collections
 
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Copper kettle, gift of Larry Matfay

Ethnographic Collections


The Alutiiq Museum’s ethnographic collections include objects manufactured during the historic period, objects collected from living persons, works of contemporary art, and replicas of prehistoric Alaska Native objects.

The collection of recent and contemporary objects helps to tell the continuing story of the Alutiiq people and to illustrate the ties between the museum’s historic and prehistoric collections and the present.  These objects promote the recognition and perpetuation of Alutiiq culture.

Read more: Ethnographic Collections
 
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Alutiiq speakers record a song.

Film & Audio Recordings

The Alutiiq Museum collects videotape, digital video, audiotape, compact discs, and other recordings of the Alutiiq language, events in the Alutiiq community, archaeological excavations, oral histories, interviews, museum programs, and media presentations on Alutiiq heritage projects.  Some recordings in this collection are accompanied by written transcripts.  Additional recordings, whose copyright is not owned by the museum, can be found in our library.

 

 
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Archival Collections


The Alutiiq Museum holds both original paper archives and copies of archival documents from other sources.  These include, but are not limited to, the papers of Alutiiq leaders, original field notes and maps from archaeological surveys and excavations - including an inventory of images from the Cape Alitak petroglyphs, and historical documents.

 

 
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Fern photo by Pricilla Russell - Kodiak Alutiiq Plantlore

Natural History Collections


The Alutiiq Museum maintains a small collection of geological samples, plant and animal samples, and even fossils from the Alutiiq world and adjacent regions of Alaska.  We use these materials in exhibits and educational programs to illustrate the  environment in which Alutiiq people live.

Natural history collections are also useful for research.  For example, archaeologists can compare the stone used to make prehistoric tools with geological samples.  This helps them to identify the likely sources of raw materials people used in the past.  Or archaeologists can use animal bones in our collections to identify the animal remains found in old garbage deposits.

 

 

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