Qayaq or kayak? Whatever floats your boat

Object of the Month: 02/2013

What is it?:

Model kayak with doll


Norton Sound, Alaska

Age: ca. 1900
Made by:

Yup'ik people

Accession #: 1-858

Tourists to Alaska at the turn of the 20th Century could purchase model kayaks like this from the Yup’ik people. While providing needed income through these sales, it also enabled the maintenance and transmission of the knowledge of the materials, technology, and engineering of the kayak within the Yup’ik community. Making kayaks (or qayaqs as the Yup’ik people would say) combines complex engineering and an artistic eye to make a key tool for everyday living for Arctic indigenous peoples.

Click on the headers below to learn more about Yup'ik qayaqs or get creative and write up your own label for this artifact in the comments section below.