Today's Featured Artifact is this beautiful birchbark canoe. The museum was recently notified of a project to catalog birchbark canoes in museum collections across North America into one comprehensive online resource. Of course, knowing about this one, we had to add our canoe to the digital collection!
Like many objects that get donated to museums, we don't know much about its history, except that it was built by Indigenous Algonquian people in Canada, sometime in the 1930s. It was donated to the Hudson River Maritime Museum in 1998 and is currently on display in the museum's East Gallery - you just have to look up to see it!
Because it is currently being displayed on top of an exhibit case, we took these photos so you could see some of the beautiful interior details. Click on the images below to make them larger and click through the gallery.
This canoe is listed in the digital collection created by The Museum of Underwater Archaeology and Georgia Southern University’s spring 2021 American Indian History class, which includes over 30 museums, parks, and historical societies across North America that have traditionally built birch-bark canoes in their collections.
This digital storymap currently includes 54 bark canoes from Canada’s Northwest Territory to Savannah, Georgia. Each organization provided photos of their canoes and information about their origins, cultural affiliations, age, and physical characteristics. In addition, researchers visiting the storymap can download a spreadsheet containing the canoe data for analysis. The website also hosts videos on canoe construction and an interview with a traditional bark canoe builder.
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This blog is written by Hudson River Maritime Museum staff, volunteers and guest contributors.
Hudson River Maritime Museum
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Kingston, NY 12401
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