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Exhibit highlights Yupik innovation and ingenuity

Submitted by Kerynn Fisher
Phone: 907-474-6941


Photo caption below.
Chris Arend photo, courtesy of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.
A fish skin parka featured in the special exhibit.
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Photo caption below.
James H. Barker photo.
The special exhibit includes both historic and contemporary photos, including this image of Jesse Paul of Kipnuk collecting herring eggs.
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A new exhibit at the University of Alaska Museum of the North highlights the innovation and ingenuity that have helped the Yupik people survive for generations on the Bering Sea coast. "Yuungnaqpiallerput (The Way We Genuinely Live): Masterworks of Yup'ik Science and Survival" opens Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008 and runs through Sunday, March 22, 2009.

Based on knowledge shared by Yup'ik elders, the exhibition takes visitors through the seasonal cycle of activities and features more than 100 artifacts from national and international collections, including 19th and early 20th century tools, containers, weapons and clothing. Hands-on activities show visitors how grass serves as insulation, how to sew waterproof stitches, how a hunter uses a paddle to hear sound vibrations in the water and how to build a qasqi, the Yupik communal men's house. Visitors will also be able to listen to and learn to pronounce common Yupik words and phrases.

"This exhibit really illustrates the blending of culture and science," says museum director Aldona Jonaitis. "We hope people come away with a better understanding of the generations of knowledge and adaptations that have gone into the form and function of these objects as well as the science behind them."

Anthropologist Ann Fienup-Riordan, who guest curated the exhibit, will present a free public lecture on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at the museum. The companion book to the exhibit is available at the Museum Store ($45/softcover, 360 pages).

The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center organized the exhibit in partnership with the Calista Elders Council. The exhibit received major funding support from the National Science Foundation. Lenders include the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian and National Museum of Natural History, Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History and the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin. More information on the exhibit is available online at www.yupikscience.org/.

Admission to the special exhibit is included in the museum's general admission price: $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $5 for youth 7-17 and free for children 6 and under. Museum members and UAF students (with valid ID) also receive free admission. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed on Sundays and Christmas Day. The museum will offer special holiday hours Dec. 26 through Jan. 4: open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, including Sundays.

Information on the museum's programs and exhibits is available at 907-474-7505 and online at www.uaf.edu/museum.

CONTACT: Kerynn Fisher, University of Alaska Museum of the North communications coordinator, at 907-474-6941 or 907-378-2559.

Note to editors: Hi-res images are available on request.

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