Anchorage Museum of History and Art

Anchorage, AK

907.343.4326



 

Drawing Shadows to Stone: Photographing North Pacific Peoples, 1897-1902 and Objects of Northern Life

May 7 through September 19, 1999

 

"The Yakaghir people of northeastern Siberia, seeing a camera for the first time, called it 'the three-legged device that draws a man's shadow to stone.' The three legs were the tripod and the shadow drawn to stone was the image inscribed onto the glass plate negative."

The Anchorage Museum of History and Art is proud to present Drawing Shadows to Stone: Photographing North Pacific Peoples, 1897-1902 and Objects of Northern Life during the 1999 summer season. Visitors are invited to see and learn about one of America' s most well known explorations of northern culture.

The Jesup Expedition was organized in 1897 by the American Museum of Natural History to investigate the origins of the American Indian. Photography was an integral component of this foremost American ethnographic expedition, and in the space of five years, the Expedition produced 3,000 photographs of the peoples of the Northwest Coast of North America and the northeastern coast of Siberia. The exhibition presents rare views of the people of the North Pacific region at the beginning of the 20th century and explores the role of photography as a way of "collecting culture" and capturing a way of life.

To complement the 90 photographs in the show, the Anchorage Museum has developed a related exhibition, Objects of Northern Life, This exhibition presents a rich display of 136 artifacts from the peoples portrayed in the photographs -- Northwest Coast masks and basketry, potlatch gifts, elaborately decorated clothing from Siberia, and Siberian reindeer herder's tools and gear.

These artifacts come from the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks, the Alaska State Museum in Juneau, the Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka, the Burke Museum of Natural History in Seattle, and the Anchorage Museum collection.

In addition, visitors will experience a Siberian reindeer herder's tent constructed by the Anchorage Museum. And, in a special resource area at one end of the galleries, visitors will be able to view CD-ROM programs on the Jesup Expedition, select from a series of brief video programs on Siberian craftspeople, and peruse a variety of reading materials on the peoples of the North Pacific.

Public Tours: Forty-five minute public tours of the exhibition will be conducted by volunteer docents at 12 noon seven days a week. There is no additional fee for the tours.

Exhibition Catalog: A 112-page exhibition catalog, Drawing Shadows to Stone: The Photography of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, 1897-1902, is available for purchase in the Museum Shop. The catalog includes essays and photographs from the show.

Drawing Shadows to Stone: Photographing North Pacific Peoples, 1897-1902 and Objects of Northern Life are sponsored by the Anchorage Museum Association..

Images from top to bottom: KWAKWAKZ'WAKW, Shaman's Doll, gift of family of Willard Bowman, AMHA 89.28.1, photo by Chris Arend; Harlan Smith, Jack Tsacoola, (42840), collection of American Museum of Natural History; Waldemar Bogoras, Even Family, 1895, (22410), collection of American Museum of Natural History; Waldemar Bogoras, Even Woman, (1310), collection of American Museum of Natural History; KWAKWAKZ'WAKW, Eagle Mask, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture 1-1460, photo by Chris Arend; NANAI, Child's Tunic, Municipal Acquisition Fund, AMHA 95.1.2, photo by Chris Arend; KWAKWAKZ'WAKW, Headdress Frontlet, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture 25.0/233, photo by Chris Arend; KORYAK, Child's Ceremonial Kulianka, gift of Anchorage Museum Assoc., AMHA 94.58.1, photo by Chris Arend; NANAI, Fishskin Raincoat, Municipal Acquisition Fund, AMHA, 95.58.1, photo by Chris Arend.

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This page was originally published in 1999 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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