Ethnographic & Art Objects
Our Ethnographic and Art Collections contain historical and contemporary objects representing the full range of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultural and artistic traditions, as well as small assemblages of historical and archeological objects. Bags, baskets, bracelets, daggers, dolls, halibut hooks, masks, necklaces, canoe paddles, paintings, pipes, rattles, Chilkat robes and goat horn spoons are represented in the collection. Mid-twentieth century carvings in wood and metal include model totem poles and silver bracelets by Tlingit artists Jim, Leo and Willie Marks and Amos and Lincoln Wallace.
We also maintain a small but growing collection of recent and contemporary work of Tlingit and Haida art, which is well documented and indicative of the artistic ability of modern and contemporary artists. Sealaska Heritage Institute also serves as a repository on behalf of clans and tribes for cultural items repatriated under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) which are occasionally deposited in our collections. These objects date to the early 19th century, or possibly earlier. We have established formal guidelines allowing public use of these sacred and patrimonial objects. Historical objects such as a ship's cannon, a naval flag, and a fighting spear made from an early European rifle barrel are in the collection. Archeological collections include a variety of utilitarian stone objects, a war club, and several petroglyphs.
Our Amos Wallace Art Design Collection is proving to be invaluable in understanding the complexity of Northwest Coast form line art. The collection includes the drawings of nearly every art piece designed by Tlingit artist Amos Wallace over a span of five or six decades. It represents the only such collection of its kind. It has been of interest to art historians as well as Native artists who comment that they are able to study an art piece from its initial creation to completion, which they say is not possible in looking at a completed piece. The Amos Wallace materials include his personal papers, art sketches, recordings, photographs, and art objects, including drawings of hundreds of art pieces designed over the span of his life.