Kayak, Umiak, Canoe

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Kayak, Umiak, Canoe explores the importance of traditional watercraft to northern Native cultures, the production of model watercraft as a reaction to economic challenges those cultures faced in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the roles that traditional watercraft have played in recent cultural revitalization movements across the North. At the heart of the exhibition is a collection of 19 skin and wooden model watercraft made by Haida, Nuu-chah-nulth, Yup'ik, Aleut, and other northern Native people and obtained in 1917-1918 by collector Ferdinand Bach from the Hudson Bay Fur Company of Seattle. Sixty-four additional archaeological and ethnographic objects from the Haffenreffer Museum's permanent collections, including three full-sized kayaks, are supported by images and a hands-on area for visitors of all ages to provide a rich and entertaining context for understanding these lasting symbols of northern Native people and their seafaring lifestyles. A catalogue and companion volume of essays are available from our bookstore

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The Kayak, Umiak, Canoe exhibit is made possible in part by a grant from the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and also by the Haffenreffer Family Fund.

click here for publications with more information on Arctic watercraft and culture and the Haffenreffer Museum's collections.