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A red cedar quiver will be added to the Alutiiq Museum’s gallery displays this week. The nineteenth-century piece is a family heirloom, donated to the Alutiiq Museum by the King family in 2016. The 35-inch long, cylindrical tool was expertly carved from a plank and bent to shape with steam. It is the largest bentwood object in the Alutiiq Museum’s collections and the only quiver.
“This piece is a rare example of both bent wood technology and Alutiiq hunting gear,” said the museum’s Curator of Archaeology Patrick Saltonstall. “Bending wood is a slow and difficult process, and many objects break during manufacture. To make something of this size and shape demonstrates incredible skill. The quiver features a wider top designed specifically to protect the feather fletching of a hunter’s arrows.”
Saltonstall believes the quiver was used at sea. “Wooden quivers, like this piece, were typically used at sea, lashed to a hunter’s kayak or between two hunters working from a double hatched boat. In contrast, people carried lighter animal skin quivers on land.”
Because the piece is both large and unique, it required a custom display case and mounts. ExhibitAK, a Juneau-based firm, helped the Alutiiq Museum design the display which was then fabricated from Plexiglas, wood, and brass by Alutiiq Museum Collections and Exhibit Specialist Alex Painter.
The quiver will be displayed in the museum’s gallery starting Friday, April 6th, as part of the organization’s First Friday event. Saltonstall will be present to discuss the artifact with visitors. Local artist Nannette Foster will also share her artwork and jewelry in the museum’s gallery. The event is free and open to the public, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.
The Alutiiq Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and culture of the Alutiiq, an Alaska Native tribal people. Representatives of Kodiak Alutiiq organizations govern the museum with funding from charitable contributions, memberships, grants, contracts, and sales.