The Arctic collections

Exposition Espèces, la maille du vivant
The Arctic collections include artefacts from Northern Canada, Quebec, Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia, as well as Northern Europe.

A pair of birch shoes from Finnish Lapland marked the start of these collections in 1875. Subsequently, the end of the 19th century saw the collections expand with a life-size kayak from the Inuits of Western Greenland, plus a mannequin wearing leather clothes from the same cultural origin a few years later. This was also the addition of the largest set of artefacts representing Eastern Siberia. Collections originating from the Inuits in the Labrador region of Canada in turn marked the first quarter of the 20th century. Finally, the 2000s marked a turning point for these collections with the addition of a set of contemporary Inuit works.

In 2001, 2002 and 2003, ethnographical items linked to the traditional life of Inuits in Labrador and Nunavut (Canada), Nunavik (Quebec), Greenland, Alaska plus a few items from Lapland were also added to the ancient collections. This selection features a second life-size kayak, as well as items related to this type of craft and sleds, everyday items, stone sculptures, drawings and engravings. A series of twenty-five glass plates retracing the Duke of Orléans’s Arctic expedition in 1905 was contributed to the museum’s collections, adding a new dimension to the existing types of artefacts.