Skip to main content.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Website Search Box
{search_item}

Department of Anthropology

Arctic Studies Center

Links News Culture Exhibit Nelson Home

The Exhibition was at NMNH from April 17, 2010 - July 25, 2010

The exhibit travelled throughout Alaska to Bethel and Anchorage before coming to Washington, DC. The Anchorage Museum hosted the exhibition from February 3, 2008 - October 26, 2008. Please visit the Anchorage museum site for more information: http://www.yupikscience.org

Click here to explore a few artifacts that were presented in the exhibit and collected by Edward W. NelsonCurated by cultural anthropologist Ann Fienup-Riordan, The Way We Genuinely Live is a joint project of the Anchorage

Museum and the Calista Elders Council, developed with the guidance of Yup’ik elders, scientists and educators and with major support from the National Science Foundation. This exhibition was also made possible through the support of ConocoPhillips Alaska, Calista Corporation, Anchorage Museum Foundation, the Anchorage Museum Association and the Oak Foundation. Featuring masterworks ranging from a needle made from a crane-wing bone to elegant bentwood hunting hats, the exhibition celebrates the science behind the design and technology of these objects. Collections are from 13 museums in the United States and Germany and illuminate the legacy of intelligence and ingenuity of this ancient culture and illustrate the intimate relationship between the Yup’ik people and their environment.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Slideshow of exhibit events

The Way We Genuinely Live is based on knowledge shared by Yup’ik elders and takes visitors through the seasonal cycle of activities, showcasing tools and materials. At interactive science stations, visitors engaged in hands-on activities that demonstrated how and why these objects work. Video and audio programs documented traditional activities as well as the construction of traditional Yup’ik tools. Not just a science exhibition, “The Way We Genuinely Live” illustrated the unique marriage between art, science and ethnography. At the exhibition’s core was the recognition that the past and present Yup’ik way of life is grounded in deep spiritual values and scientific principles.

“Many of these objects are among the earliest obtained for the Smithsonian,” said William W. Fitzhugh, director of the Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies Center. “They are some of the finest masterworks of traditional Yup’ik technology and art.” Having pursued northern studies since the 1850s, the Smithsonian possesses one of the world’s best anthropological collections from arctic and sub-arctic regions. Keeping with this long tradition, the ASC has hosted two other Yup’ik exhibits, Agayuliyararput, Our Way of Making Prayer (1997), curated by Fienup-Riordon and Inua: Spirit World of the Bering Sea Eskimo (1982), curated by William Fitzhugh and Susan Kaplan. Research at the ASC seeks to bring its researchers together with community scholars in the collaborative exploration of the cultural heritage represented in these impressive collections.

This website generously supported by the National Science Foundation's Arctic Programs.
Copyright ASC 2010

[ TOP ]