A travelling exhibit to honor the Sami herders who came from Norway in 1894 and 1898 to teach reindeer herding skills to the Yup'ik and Inupiaq Peoples of Alaska. At the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa through November 2013.

Herder Ellen Sara
and her baby sister Berit.

The Collection
A collection of 25 to 30 authentic examples of decorated tools and household items used in nomadic reindeer herding are part of the exhibit. Each item is accompanied by a small illustrated stand-up card that contains an explanation of its use. The pieces can be displayed in the cases that already exist at each museum and come packed in three or four padded filing boxes. The objects are on loan from the Nathan Muus / Saami Báiki Collection, the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, and from descendants of the Reindeer Project.

Each exhibit is made up of fifteen to twenty-five black and white photos ranging in size from 8 x 10 to 11 x 17. They focus on the herders and their activities in the area where the museum is located. They are mounted on foam core and are packed in a metal suitcase.

Source Books
"Source Books" containing the genealogies of each Sami Reindeer Project family’s first two generations in Alaska are being compiled and made available at each of the museums where the exhibit takes place. The Source Books are edited by Ruthanne Cecil.

The Lavvu
A lavvu (traditional Sámi tent) usually travels with the "Sami: Reindeer People of Alaska" exhibit. It can be set up indoors or outside, depending on the weather and the space available. The lavvu includes a fire pit with cooking pot in the center, reindeer furs and pine or birch boughs on the floor and other furnishings. The cover is made from double strength denim and is shipped in a canvas duffel bag; the poles must be harvested locally. The required floor space is 10 to 12 feet and the height is 10 to 12 feet. A smaller version of the lavvu is also available on request. The Saami Báiki Office will provide pole requirements and assist the museum in setting up the lavvu.



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