Event: Embodied Knowledges within Cultural Collections

Date & Time

December 10, 2021 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Save to your calendar

Contact Information

Céline Wachsmuth



Event Type

Conservation Conversation

Event Details

Sven Haakanson
Ph.D., Curator, Burke Museum
Associate Professor in Anthropology at the University of Washington

Register here

Over the past three decades, in collaboration with my community from Kodiak, Alaska, I have researched

museum collections from around the world to learn about and return the embodied knowledge of our cultural history. From masks, clothing, baskets to boats we have systematically taken knowledge that was taken out and brought it back to our communities to use once again. The angyaaq (open boat) from our region was set aside in the 1800’s after contact with Europeans, but thanks to collections we were able to learn about this vessel and reverse engineer the models in order to build a full size angyaaq at the Akhiok Kids Camp in 2016.

Sven Haakanson is Sugpiafrom Old Harbor, Alaska. He is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (2007), the Museums Alaska Award for Excellence (2008), the ATALM Guardians of Culture and Lifeways Leadership Award (2012), and his work on the Angyaaq led it to be inducted into the Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame (2020). He joined the University of Washington in 2013. He engages communities in cultural revitalization using material reconstruction as a form of scholarship and teaching. His projects have included the reconstruction of full-sized angyaaq boats from archaeological models, as well as halibut hooks, masks, paddles, and traditional processing of bear gut into waterproof material for clothing. He has and continues to collaborate with the community of Akhiok at their Akhiok Kids camp since 2000.