Ethnology & History

We acknowledge the Alaska Native nations upon whose lands our university campuses reside. The University of Alaska Museum of the North resides on the Troth Yeddha' Campus, the ancestral lands of the Dena people of the lower Tanana River.

Through material culture, the Ethnology & History collections at UAMN seek to represent the diverse Indigenous peoples of Alaska with thousands of years of history in this place. Likewise, we document the lives of non-Native settlers who came to these lands in the last three centuries. We honor the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the Circumpolar North, and we work to make meaningful connections with descendent community members.

The Ethnology & History collection,  which includes over 18,000 objects, is an official statewide repository for Alaska’s cultural collections. As such, the department seeks to develop a comprehensive collection of material culture from the state’s nine Native cultures (Iñupiaq, Siberian Yupik, Central Yup’ik, Dene/Athabascan, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Unangax/Aleut and Alutiiq/Sugpiaq) in order to serve a wide and expanding range of audiences. We hold items from nearly every one of the 229 Federally Recognized Tribes (Alaska Native villages), and from all of the cultures represented by the 20 distinct Native languages in Alaska. In addition, objects from Siberia, Canada, and Greenland serve as comparative examples of other circumpolar peoples.


The collection also holds a wide range of material culture relating to Alaska's early settlers, from the Russian American period through the present. It contains items representing the changing technology of gold mining, of aviation, and life in the sometimes-inhospitable Interior of Alaska in particular. We have a special focus on representing the history of the University of Alaska and the Museum.

The collections are available to all for examination and for loan to other institutions and communities.



Senior Collections Manager: Angela J. Linn, Ph.D.


The Ethnology & History collections are available online!

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Go behind the scenes with the Ethnology & History department blog at Wordpress!