Welcome to module 13

Learning Objectives


Module 13 will introduce students to some of the exciting and diverse museums across the circumpolar north.

By the end of this module students will be able to:

  • Identify three major northern museums
  • Describe two challenges faced by all circumpolar museums
  • Name two unique characteristics of museums in the north

lecture THEMES

Museums in the north – an overview

The circumpolar north and the Arctic is home to diverse peoples and ecosystems. But there are many elements that tie us together. Instructor Angela Linn provides an overview of some of the museums and museum support organizations across the Circumpolar North within the Arctic region. (20:18)

Alaska Museums – Challenges & Opportunities

Instructor Angela Linn talks with Museums Alaska Executive Director Dixie Clough and Alaska State Museum Curator of Statewide Services Mary Irvine. They share their personal backgrounds and training, what the key responsibilities are for their unique organizations in Alaska, and how they work together to provide opportunities for Alaska museums and museum professionals. (37:59)

creating and using extensive datasets in natural and cultural collections in the north

Steffi Ickert-Bond and Josh Reuther provide readings about the creation and use of extensive datasets in natural and cultural collections in the North with examples from the University of Alaska Museum of the North.

Long-trending datasets in natural history collections, their use and additional need for expansion of these datasets are the focus of this presentation by Steffi Ickert-Bond. (9:28)


The museums of Alaska and the circumpolar north are part of unique local environments, but also part of a global community. Learn this list of terms to better comprehend the readings and videos for this module.

  1. Circumpolar North
  2. Field Services
  3. Federal Records Management
  4. Arctic browning
  5. Long-trending datasets
  6. Phenology
  7. Arctic
  8. Sámi
  9. Historical Ecology
  10. Inuit
  11. High-latitude
  12. Nunavut

Activities / Assignments

Reading / Video content



Iqaluit Museum has its first Inuk curator and she has big ideas (1:47)

Toolik Lake Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Station, Alaska (10:15)

Dawson Before the Gold: Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre – Yukon Territory, Canada (1:48)


In January 1994, the ICOM journal Museum International published a special issue on Northern Museums. You can see the full table of contents with abstracts here, and selected articles linked below (total ~50 pages reading) – please select five of the readings below that are of most interest to you:


For Exploration:


Log into our course shell in Canvas and go to ‘Quizzes’ on the left side menu.

Take ‘13. Quiz’: Vocabulary relating to Northern Museums. You will have up to three attempts to match the vocabulary and definitions. Click over to Canvas to take quiz 13.

Meet Up

Time to get together! This is optional but highly encouraged. We will meet via Zoom at 12:30 pm (AKSDT) on Friday April 21. The link to the session can be found in this Google Document (you must be part of the class to view the document). If you are unable to join the meeting will be recorded and you will be expected to review the recording prior to writing your discussion post (see below).

Assignment – Discussion

Activity: Find two northern museums to compare and contrast. Make one of them a museum in Alaska and one from another northern region (in the circumpolar north OR who define themselves as representing “the north”). Compare and contrast at least two elements from each museum (e.g., their mission statements, their organizational charts/system, their collections focus, their exhibition program, their outreach, etc.).

  1. Create a new post on this website responding to this activity. Your post should be roughly 500 words and should include an image. Think about reading and video material from this week and personal experiences you have had to help illustrate your ideas.
  2. At the end of your post, include a question for your fellow students to answer.
  3. Respond to each others’ posts (you will need to respond to/comment on at least two other posts).
  4. Select “13. Northern Museums Discussion” from the list of discussion categories on the right hand side of your posting window on the dashboard.

Looking Forward

Next week is our final module and we’ll look at Contemporary Issues in Museums.

Did you know?

Fun tidbit not to be tested on.

Permanent exhibitions at Siida.

The Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida is located in the town of Inari, in the Sámi Homeland. The Sámi Museum and Northern Lapland Nature Centre are responsible for organizing activities at Siida. Siida’s permanent exhibition was designed together by the Sámi Museum and Metsähallitus. The exhibition combines Sámi culture and northern Lapland’s nature in a unique manner.

In addition to the Sámi Museum and Nature Centre, the Siida building houses the Siida Shop, Restaurant Sarrit and Inari Tourist Information. Today, they are one of Northern Lapland’s most popular destinations. In 2018, a total of 117,079 people visited Siida: these included exhibition and event visitors, as well as Metsähallitus hiking guidance and Inari Tourist Information, Siida Shop and Restaurant Sarrit customers. — Source