Korsun S. A. The Experience of Study and Publication of MAE RAS Collection on Indigenous Peoples of Russian America

Sergei A. Korsun
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Saint Petersburg, Russia
E-mail: ffsak@kunstkamera.ru


 Download  |  Go to Issue #1. 2018


ABSTRACT. The article focuses on the history of study and publication of MAE RAS collections from indigenous peoples of Russian America. These collections were assembled over the course of more than two hundred and fifty years, beginning in the middle of the 18th century. Thanks to the collecting activities of scholars, navigators, and employees of the Russian-American Company, the museum currently possesses the most valuable collections in terms of scientific significance, and the oldest — in terms of the collecting period, compared with other ethnographic museums of the world. European and American explorers began to assemble the collection in the territories of Alaska and California primarily at the end of the 19th century. At that time many elements of traditional aboriginal culture were being discarded or were disappearing under the influence of European culture. Therefore, the MAE collections from the peoples of Russian America are of great scientific significance to contemporary scholars and to the Native peoples of Alaska and California. Catalogues of museum collection from the Tlingit, Pacific Yupik, and Aleuts have been published since 2007. Currently, the museum is preparing the California catalogue for publication. The Dena’ina collection was published in a collective work as a result of the exhibition in Anchorage in 2013.


KEYWORDS: MAE RAS, catalogs, Tlingit, Pacific Yupik, Aleuts, Dena’ina, Californian Indians


DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2018-1-200-206


  • Алеуты: Каталог коллекций Кунсткамеры. СПб.: МАЭ РАН, 2014. 384 с.
  • Дзенискевич Г. И. Атапаски Аляски. Очерки материальной и духовной культуры. Конец XVIII — начало XIX в. Л.: Наука, 1987. 152 с.
  • Корсун С. А. Собрание МАЭ по народам Русской Америки: история формирования и документальная атрибуция // Сборник МАЭ. Аборигены Америки: предметы и представления. СПб.: МАЭ РАН, 2005. Т. 50. С. 59–189.
  • Корсун С. А. Алутиик сегодня: заметки о командировке на Аляску // Материалы полевых исследований МАЭ РАН. СПб.: МАЭ РАН, 2008. Вып. 8. С. 127–140.
  • Корсун С. А. Американистика в Кунсткамере (1714–2014). СПб.: МАЭ РАН, 2015. 504 с.
  • Ляпунова Р. Г. Очерки по этнографии алеутов (конец XVIII — первая половина XIX в.) Л.: Наука, 1975. 199 с.
  • Народы Америки. М.; Л.: Изд-во АН СССР, 1959. Т. 1. 672 с.
  • Тлинкиты: Каталог коллекций Кунсткамеры. СПб.: МАЭ РАН, 2007. 272 с.
  • Файнберг Л. А. Общественный строй эскимосов и алеутов. От материнского рода к соседской общине М.: Наука, 1964. 258 с.
  • Эскимосы алютиик: Каталог коллекций Кунсткамеры. СПб.: Наука, 2010. 464 с.
  • Averkieva J. P. The Indians of the American Northwest Coast // Varjola P., Averkieva J. P., Liapunova R. G. The Etholen Collection: The Ethnographic Alaskan Collection of Adolf Etholen and His Contemporaries in the National Museum of Finland. Helsinki: National Board of Antiquities, 1990. P. 72–100.
  • Black L. T. Aleut Art. Unangam Aguqaadangin. Virginia Beach: Donning Company Publishers, 2003. 208 p.
  • Korsun S. The Alutiit / Sugpiat: A Catalog of the Collections of the Kunstkamera. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2012. 400 p.
  • Korsun S. Fieldwork on the Commander Islands Aleuts // Alaska Journal of Anthropology. 2013. Vol. 11. № 1, 2. P. 169–181.
  • Korsun S. Dena’ina Collections in the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) // Dena’inaq huch’ulyeshi. The Dena’ina Way of Living. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2013a. P. 237–259.
  • Ray D. J. Aleut and Eskimo Art. Tradition and Innovation in South Alaska. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1981. 251 p.