1. Catalog of Full-Size Craft (replicas & originals) in the LSKCM.
2. Catalog of Models (replicas & originals) in the LSKCM.
3. Introduction to the Lincoln Street Kayak & Canoe Museum Including a Guide to its Exhibits.
1. CATALOG OF FULL-SIZE CRAFT:
1. Fijian Thamakau (Melanesian Outrigger Canoe.) (Semi-replica based on various sources with a hull adapted to skin-on-frame construction)
2. Boyne Curragh (Irish Coracle.) (Type-replica built by Steven Carrigg)
3. Algonquin Wabanaki Tciman (Birch-Bark Canoe, Western Quebec) (Original, 1950s)
4. Replica of a Ktunaxa Yaksumit (Kutenai Canoe; Upper Columbia River), early 20th. C. form (based on a scale drawing by Howard I. Chapelle)
5. Peterborough Basswood Canoe, model 64, ca. 1910. Peterborough, Ontario (Original)
6. Wu-Hu Tub Boat from Nanking Vicinity Anwhei Province, China, ca. 1930s. (Original)
7. Mindanao Banca (Philippines), mid 20th C. (Original)
8. Conjectural Replica of a 1500-2000 year old Okvik/Old Bering Sea Culture Kayak.
(Based on an ivory model excavated at Uelen, Russian Far East)
9. Replica of a Koryak May-to (Sea of Okhotsk), ca. 1910. (American Museum of Natural History’s AMNH 70/3358, collected by the ethnologist Waldemar Jochelsen)
10. Replica of a Maritime Chukchi Kayak, ca. 1879. (Etnografisk Museum, Stockholm’s 1880.4.1255,collected by the explorer A. E. Nordenskiold of the Vega).
11. Replica of a Chukchi Kayak (Russian Far East). (Bremen Übersee Museum’s C.8707, of unknown provenance).
12. Replica of an Inland Chukchi Kayak, ca. 1904. (Russian Museum of Ethnography’s 2083.61a, collected by N. I. Sokolnikov).
13. Replica of an Unangan Iqyax (Aleut Kayak), ca. 1805.
(Based on a period scale drawing by artist and shipwright Ivan Koriukin).
14. Replica of an Unangan Iqyax (Aleut Kayak), ca. 1826. (National Museum of Finland’s VK 228, collected by Russian America Governor Adolphe Etolin.)
15. Replica of an Unangan Uluxtax (Aleut Kayak), ca. 1889. (U. S. National Museum of Natural History’s 160336, donated by the Alaskan Commercial Company).
16. Replica of a Chugachigmiut Kayak (Prince William Sound Sugpiaq), ca. 1900. (Canadian Canoe Museum’s 977.185, collected by Capt. D. F. Tozier, U.S. Revenue Service).
17. Replica of a Koniagmiut (Kodiak Island Sugpiaq) Kayak ca. 1851. (Danish National Museum’s Ib.160, collected by mining engineer/ethnologist Hendrik Holmberg).
18. Replica of an Aglurmiut Kayak (Bristol Bay Yup’ik), ca. 1885. (U. S. National Museum of Natural History’s 398281, collected by the naturalist Charles H. Townsend).
19. Replica of a Central Yup’ik Kayak from Bethel, ca. 1938. (Replica of a kayak in a Private Collection)
20. Replica of an Unaligmiut (Norton Sound Yup’ik) Kayak, ca. 1889. (U. S. National Museum of Natural History’s 160327, donated by the Alaska Commercial Company)
21. Replica of an Oukavagmiut Kayak (King Island Inupiaq), ca. Late 1800s. (National Museum of the American Indian’s 8.2719, acquired from the Ferry Museum, Tacoma, 1918)
22. Replica of a Bering Straits Inupiaq Kayak, ca. Late 1800s. (American Museum of Natural History’s 0/162, of unknown provenance)
23. Replica of a Kotzebue Sound Inupiaq Kayak, ca. 1888. (Mariner’ Museum’s BU-05, collected by the naturalist/ethnologist Edward Nelson)
24. Replica of a Point Barrow Inupiaq Kayak, ca. 1881. (U. S. National Museum of Natural History’s 307211, collected by the naturalist/ethnologist John Murdoch)
25. Replica of a North Alaskan Iñupiaq Kayak, ca. 1900(?). (California Academy of Science’s 0005-0165, of unknown provenance)
26. Replica of a MacKenzie River Delta Inuit Kayak, ca. 1913. (Canadian Museum of Civilization’s IV-D-1058, collected by the Canadian Arctic Expedition)
27. Replica of a Copper Inuit Kayak, ca. 1913. (Canadian Museum of Civilization’s IV-D-1057, collected by the Canadian Arctic Expedition)
28. Replica of a Nattilingmiut Kayak, ca. 1913. (Canadian Museum of Civilization’s IV-C-708, collected by the Canadian Arctic Expedition)
29. Replica of a Caribou Inuit Kayak, ca. 1890. (American Museum of Natural History’s 60/3547, collected by Capt. George Comer of the whaler Era)
30. Replica of an Iglulingmiut Kayak, ca. 1821. (British Museum’s Q94-AM2, collected by Capt. George Lyon, H.M.S. Hecla)
31. Replica of a North Baffin Island Inuit Kayak, ca. 1819. (Royal Albert Memorial Museum’s E-801, collected by Capt. William Parry, H.M.S. Hecla )
32. Replica of an East Hudson Bay Kayak, ca. 1976. (Canadian Canoe Museum’s 990.61)
33. Replica of a S. Baffin Island/ Labrador Inuit Kayak, ca. 1830s. (Hull Maritime Museum’s [U.K.] kayak, collected by Sir John Ross, H.M.S. Victory)
34. Replica of an Inuhuit Kayak (Polar Greenland), ca. 1909. (Greenland National Museum’s KNK 1007, collected by the ethnologist Dr. Thomas Thomsen)
35. Replica of a West Greenland Kayak, from Sisimiut vicin., ca 1605. (Replica of the Schiffergesellschaft’s [Lübeck] kayak, stolen by members of the 1605 Danish Expedition)
36. Replica of a West Greenland Kayak, ca. 1789. (Hunterian Museum’s E.102, collected by Commander Watson of the Greenlandman Findlay)
37. Replica of a West Greenland Kayak, ca. 1600s. (Greenland National Museum’s KNK 1161, collected by Dutch Whalers)
38. Replica of a West Greenland Kayak, ca. 1600s. (De Hidde Nijland Stichting’s (Hindeloopen) no.2, collected by Dutch Whalers)
39. Replica of a West Greenland Kayak, ca. 1600s. (Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde’s 349-1, collected by Dutch Whalers)
40. Replica of a West Greenland Kayak from Nuuk vicin., ca. 1950. (Greenland National Museum’s KNK 2050)
41. Replica of a West Greenland Kayak from Upernavik, ca. 1930. (Greenland National Museum’s KNK.2237, collected by the Royal Greenland Co. factor C. E. Lembcke-Otto)
42. Replica of a South Greenland Kayak, ca. 1892. (Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde’s 1076-1, collected by South Greenland Inspector C. Ryberg)
43. Replica of a South Greenland Kayak from Nanortalik, ca. 1928. (Danish National Museum’s L.9726, collected by the ethnologist Dr. Knud Rasmussen)
44. Replica of an East Greenland Sakkit (Kayak), ca. 1933. (Museon, Den Haag’s 48057, collected by the naturalist Dr. Nico Tinbergen).
45. Replica of an East Greenland Kayak, ca. 1842. (Danish National Museum’s Lc.148, collected by Capt. Carl Høboll of the Royal Danish Navy)
46. Replica of an East Greenland Sakkit (Kayak), ca. 1932. (Danish National Museum’s L.19.157, collected by the archaeologist Dr. Therkel Mathiassen)
47. Replica of a North Baffin Island Inuit Kayak, pre-1865. (National Museum of Scotland’s U.C.765, of unknown provenance)
48. Replica of a Nattilingmiut Kayak ca. 1923. (Danish National Museum’s P.59.550, collected by Dr. Knud Rasmussen of the Fifth Thule Expedition)
49. Replica Cleddau River Cyrwygl (Welsh Coracle), early 20th Century. (Built from historic photographs and measurements by J. Hornell)
50. Replica of a Labrador Inuit Kayak, pre-1756. (Rennes Musée des Beaux-Arts’ 1794.1.781, of unknown provenance)
51. Replica of an Iglulingmiut Kayak, circa mid- 19th C. (Horniman Museum’s 18.11.61.b, of unknown date and provenance)
52. Replica of an Iglulingmiut Kayak, ca. 1923. (Danish National Museum’s P.27.793, built by Ava of Qajuvfik, collected by the Fifth Thule Expedition)
53. Replica of an Iglulingmiut Maritime Kayak, ca. late 1800s. (Replica of a Kayak Formerly in a Private Collection, Collector Unknown)
54. Replica of F. Nansen/Johansen’s Bamboo Kayak. (Fram Museum’s 171, from 1895.)
55. Replica of a Nattilingmiut Kayak, ca. 1904. (Oslo University Museums’ 16140, collected by Roald Amundsen)
56. Replica of a Nunivaarmiut Kayak, ca, 1907. (Canadian Canoe Museum’s 977.176, collected by Micajah Pope)
57. Replica of a Point Barrow Qayapauraq (“little kayak”) ca. 1959. (Burke Museum’s 1.2e1600)
58. Replica of an Unangan Uluxtadax ca. 1885. (National Museum of Natural History’s 398278, collected by Capt. Michael Healy, USRS)
59. Replica of a Baffin Island Kayak ca. 1909. (Canadian Museum of History’s IV-X-96, collected in 1909 at Cumberland Sound)
60. Replica of a Mackenzie Delta (Inuvialuit) Kayak ca. 1919. (National Museum of the American Indian's 87273, collected by Donald Cadzow)
61. Replica of a West Greenland (Illorsuit) Kayak ca. 1959. (Kelvingrove Museum's A.1980.4a, collected by Kenneth Taylor)
62. Replica of an East Greenland Kayak ca. 1970. (Museon's 59876, collected by Gert Nooter)
63. Replica of an Upernavik West Greenland Kayak, ca. 1885. (National Museum of Natural History’s 160325).
64. Canoe from Thailand (Original; late 20th C.)
3. THE LINCOLN STREET KAYAK & CANOE MUSEUM'S COLLECTIONS:
General Introduction to the Kayaks in the collection:
The kayaks in this museum are all replicas of specific historic examples in museum collections. Harvey Golden built all of these replicas—mostly from his own studies of the original kayaks—to add an experiential aspect to his research with Arctic watercraft history and development. Golden has paddled all but a couple of these kayaks.
This collection is the largest and most diverse collection of traditional Arctic kayak forms in the world and it represents forms from the Koryak, Chukchi, Unangan (Aleut), Yup’ik, and Inupiaq/Inuit and Kalaallit (Greenlandic) cultures.
Each kayak is built to the exact size and shape of the original, and has the same sizes of pieces and general joinery methods. Certain contextual adjustments were required, such as the substitution of synthetic skins instead of sea mammal skins—this on account of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the fact that such skins would not be conducive for longevity in this climate (they would quickly rot, crack open, or crush the kayaks’ frames as it shrinks). Also, while no kayak replicas were widened to accommodate a paddler, Golden did have to lengthen and widen certain kayaks’ cockpits to make them usable: Most Arctic Native peoples have shorter legs than more southerly peoples, and many—Greenlanders in particular—can bend their knees backwards slightly, thus they can get into a much tighter kayak than a European of the same height could.
The original builders made their kayaks from locally available woods, whether the wood was standing timber, driftwood, or imported lumber during the colonial or modern period. Essentially, they used what was available. The replicas are built in this spirit: They are not species-matched to the originals, but are instead made from locally available woods (fir, pine, cedar, oak, etc.). The “skin” coverings are nylon (stretched and sewn around the frames) sealed with oil polyurethane finish tinted with powder pigments. Some of the older kayaks here are canvas-covered and sealed with house paint.
Each form was successful for its respective group’s requirements. The great variety of size, shape, and specific function reflects their use in different environments for different modes and methods of hunting and gathering. Subsistence is the ‘raison d’etre’ of kayaks. Kayak-using hunters pursued such diverse prey as beluga, seals, humpback whales, walrus, caribou, bowhead whales, birds, narwhal, muskrats, orca, dolphins, and sea otters; gathering pursuits included berries, seaweed, mollusks, as well as wood for building more kayaks and other implements. Kayaks also served in trading, seasonal migrations, mail delivery, piloting larger vessels (both native umiaks and European ships), and for warfare.
First Column; West Wall:
The first three kayak replicas on the top of the West wall as well as number 11 in this stack are examples from the Russian Far East. The top-most kayak is a replica of a Koryak Mayto (9) from the upper Sea of Okhotsk. This unusual craft is equipped with two hand-paddles that can propel the craft silently up to seals sleeping on ice pans. The cords allow the hunter to set the paddle in the water to retrieve a harpoon or rifle without losing them. The bone edging was used for clearing the deck of ice and to break fresh ice on the sea if it closes the kayak in.
Number (8) is a conjectural interpretation of an Okvik culture kayak based on models found in archaeological sites. The unusual double-ends are closely related to umiaks (large open skinboats whose gunwales terminate some distance from each other, and often protrude separately, as in the case of this kayak). An image of one of these models is presented with the kayak. Kayaks likely originated from umiaks; they are specialized for independent hunting pursuits, and require covered decks due to their smaller size.
Below the Okvik kayak (8) is an inland Chukchi kayak, used kayaks for lancing reindeer swimming across lakes and rivers. A Maritime Chukchi/ Yuit kayak replica (11) is also presented. The original was covered with a single split walrus hide, and the white portions of the coaming were fashioned from whale or walrus ribs, and lashed with baleen (the black portions). These two Chukchi kayak forms come from entirely different roots; the Maritime example is generally accepted as having come from Yuit living in the Russian Far East.
Between the two Chukchi kayaks is a Unangan Iqyax—more commonly known as an Aleut Baidarka (13). This replica is based on an 1805 scale drawing executed at Unalaska by Russian shipwright Ivan Koriukin. The exact dimensions are vague, as Koriukin used an arcane system of measurements, but the replica is proportioned just as his drawing indicates. 1805 is some thirty years into the Russian Colonial period of the Aleutian Islands, during which Russian traders devastated the Unangan population and culture, and forced the survivors to pursue sea otters for their great commercial value. Pre-contact Unangan kayaks were probably wider and shorter, reflective of a more rounded cycle of subsistence.
The bottom two kayaks (17 and 16) in this stack are both Sugpiaq-Aluttiiq kayaks from the North Pacific shores of southern Alaska. Kayak 17 is a replica of a Kodiak Island (Koniagmiut) type, based on a kayak from circa 1851. The replica is equipped with a long bladder dart used for hunting seals and sea lions. (This replica carried the builder on an 800-mile trip down the Columbia River in 1999, from the headwaters in B.C. to Hermiston, Oregon.)
Below the Koniagmiut kayak is a replica of a Chugachigmiut Kayak (16). The Chugachigmiut are (along with the Koniagmiut) Sugpiaq-Alutiiq people, speakers of a Yup’ik dialect. The Chugachigmiut are from Prince William Sound, and live in a temperate rainforest. This replica carries a quiver and bow for otter and dolphin hunting. The curious split bow is artfully baroque, but the slit is also the means to acquire a concave cross-section, giving the kayak a sharper cutwater with a broader more buoyant upper portion that is helpful when the seas are up.
Columns 2 & 3; West Wall:
At the bottom of column two is another Unangan kayak—in this case an Uluxtadax, or three-hole kayak (58). Three-hole Unangan kayaks were often used for carrying officials or non-native hunting party leaders; the Unangan probably did not make three-hole kayaks before European contact and colonization.
Above the Uluxtadax is an Uluxtax, or two-hole kayak (15). After rifles began to be used for the commercial sea-otter hunts, two-hole kayaks became more common than one-hole kayaks, as they could cover more ground much faster, and carry more supplies and hold more pelts. This example is fitted with a trim rudder and has a mast and square sail.
Above these is another Unangan Iqyax (one-hole kayak)—this one is presented without it’s covering so as to show the internal framework (14). It is based on an example from 1826 in the National Museum of Finland. All of the joinery is plain to see—note the three-piece keelson, designed for flexibility. The bow has the split as can be seen in the other Unangan kayaks as well as the Chugachigmiut kayak. The stern’s structure can be compared to the covered stern of the kayak below; the terminating of the gunwales abruptly and some distance apart shows a relation to Umiaks; compare to the Okvik kayak (8) in the first column. The addition of the fin board astern draws the kayak’s lines out more gracefully, and contributes to a faster hull-form.
Another interesting feature of the 1826 Iqyax (14) is the bone and baleen-lined joints placed to make the flexible frame more silent while underway in seas. The black plates between the deck beams and the gunwales and the long strip on top of the keel are baleen in the original kayak (plastic on the replica). The bone joints (small inset strips) are placed between the deck stringer and the deck beams and in the kayak’s ends and the keelson joints. (The placement of these pieces is based on the research of George Dyson, who had the original covered kayak X-rayed in the 1990s.)
These kayaks, with Unangan hunters—very nearly caused the extinction of the sea otter. An all-out ban on otter hunting was established in 1911. Note the mast sleeve on the kayak’s deck, and also the similar sleeve at the base of the stern—this latter sleeve could be untied in order to drain the kayak of water. The taper-ended wooden cylinder is a suction-bailer to empty the kayak of water while underway—it operates like a soda straw or pipette, and takes a good deep inhale to fill.
The fourth kayak up is a Yup’ik kayak from Bristol Bay—an Aglurmiut kayak (18). This kayak (as well as the following few kayaks) is very different than the Unangan kayaks and it even differs significantly from Yup’ik kayaks of the North Pacific (e.g. 16 and 17). The reason for the difference is that the Alaskan kayaks from the Bering Sea were used on seas with ice floes—or open seas that could very quickly be filled with sea ice should winds shift (Note the kayak-sled carried on the deck of kayak 19—these were used for hauling the kayak over ice floes, and were a necessary part of a hunter’s equipment). Handles on the bows and/or sterns of kayaks are common from Bristol Bay north to Seward Peninsula—these helped hunters to raise their kayaks onto ice floes, or to lower them back into the sea. Note the very subtle slitted bow of the Aglurmiut kayak—a much restrained and less functional version of those seen on Unangan and Pacific Yup’ik kayaks. Kayak 18 measures 15 feet long, and 30 inches wide.
Just behind the Aglurmiut kayak is a replica of a Nunivak Island kayak from around 1907 (56). For a one-person kayak, it is wholly immense, likely being the most voluminous kayak in the museum—perhaps even more so than the Unangan 3-hole kayak. This kayaks ends, while elaborately formed, serve as hand holds for lifting it up onto sea ice. This kayak is 16’5” long and 30-1/2” wide. The three-pronged dart on the foredeck is a bird dart, and the implement next to it is a throwing board.
Above the Nunivak Island kayak is a Central Yup’ik kayak (19), based on an example from Bethel ca. 1938. The Bethel kayak is very similar to the Nunivak Island kayak, though the ends are much more simply formed, and it is considerably smaller (14’5” long and 27-3/4” wide). Note the sled on the aft-deck—this is the type built specifically to move kayaks across sea ice.
Ahead of the Bethel kayak, and above the Aglurmiut kayak is an Unaligmiut kayak (20) from St. Michael on Norton Sound. Unaligmiut kayaks are considerably narrower than more southerly Yup’ik forms; this example is 23-1/4” wide. The deck ridge carries on very straight from bow to stern, and the ends of the deck stringers serve as handles. The Unaligmiut are the northern-most Yup’ik on the Alaskan coast. The Iñupiaq live along the coast north of Norton Sound, and their language is mutually intelligible all the way around North Alaska, across Arctic Canada to Greenland. While the Yup’ik and Iñupiaq are both Eskimo peoples, their dialects are mutually un-intelligible. (The tray-like platforms on kayaks 18, 20, & 21 are used for holding a coiled harpoon line.)
The first Iñupiaq kayak on display here is one from King Island (21), some 34 miles southwest of Seward Peninsula in the Bering Straits. The King Island kayak is shorter than the Norton Sound kayak, and has a more elegant deck-ridge line, curving upwards considerably at the bow, terminating with a stylized handgrip. As with many Yup’ik kayaks, the King Islanders carried sleds on their kayaks’ aft decks for hunting around sea ice. Kayak 22 is from Seward Peninsula, and shares many features as kayak 21, the notable exception being the hole in the bow.
Back Column of the West Wall:
One might have expected a distinct rift in kayak form & structure where the Yup’iq/ Iñupiaq frontier lay, but instead the rift occurs Northeast of Seward Peninsula, in Kotzebue Sound. The three kayaks at the back of the west wall represent the new “mode.” The deep voluminous hulls with pitched decks are now gone, and the kayaks’ bow and sterns are more simply formed, and nearly identical end-to-end. The cockpits are raked so as to allow a person inside of a shallower hull. Significantly, these kayaks are not evolved for maritime use, whereas more southerly forms are wholly maritime craft. Instead, these northern Iñupiaq kayaks are specialized for hunting caribou swimming on lakes and rivers.
This flat-deck kayak style is consistent across the entirety of Canada to Greenland. Other features of this major kayak form are deep gunwales (~3-5”, as compared to ~2” with Yup’ik, Unangan, and southerly Iñupiaq kayaks), and hull lashings that run fore-and-aft instead of side-to-side.
The kayak at the top of the back column is also a replica of a North Alaskan kayak—one of unknown provenance (25). This kayak is much curvier than the two North Alaskan kayaks below it, and has prominent raised ends; historic photos from this region occasionally show the straighter and curvier kayaks together. Kayak 23 is a replica of a Kotzebue Sound kayak, and 24 is a replica of a Point Barrow type from 1881. The very short kayak near the ceiling ahead of these kayaks is also from North Alaska (number 57). It is a specialized type of kayak called a qayapauraq or “little kayak” and they were used in the mid 20th century for retrieving seals shot from shore or from sea ice. By this point the longer kayaks specialized for inland hunting (e.g., the three behind number 57) had been replaced by rifles, and by the 1960s the “little kayaks” too had become obsolete, having been replaced by safer open skinboats.
Central Columns, West Side:
The kayak on the floor is a replica of an Inuvialuit kayak from the Mackenzie River Delta (26). The Inuvialuit used these for beluga hunting, seal hunting, fishing, and trapping. MacKenzie River Delta kayaks are a unique exception to the rule of kayaks north and east of Kotzebue Sound having flat decks. This kayak type also has unusual vertical end horns, and a smooth hull-shape formed of very broad and thin chines—these aspects may signify a lineage or merging with bark canoes of the upper Mackenzie River, and perhaps roots with Yup’ik or Southern Iñupiaq pitched-deck kayaks.
Moving westward from the MacKenzie River Delta…. the upper-most kayak in this column is a replica of a Copper Inuit kayak (27) from Coronation Gulf area. This kayak, like the kayaks from North Alaska, is specialized for hunting caribou on lakes and rivers. The great length (over 23 feet) and extremely narrow hull (15-3/4”) give it great speed; caribou aren’t especially fast swimmers, but it was a matter of prestige to be the first to lance a caribou during the hunt. Thus this kayak could very well be considered a ‘racing’ kayak. Below this are three replicas of Netsilik Kayaks (Nattilingmiut) (28, 48 & 55). The Nattilingmiut inhabit the regions adjacent the Magnetic North Pole, and they primarily used their kayaks for hunting caribou. The upper example’s original was collected in 1913, and the Danish Fifth Thule Expedition collected the middle kayak’s original in 1923. The lower Nattilingmiut kayak (55) is a replica of one that Roald Amundsen collected in 1904 during his historic transit of the Northwest Passage.
Kayak 52 is a replica of an Iglulingmiut maritime kayak, collected in 1923 by Peter Freuchen. The original’s owner was the shaman Ava, and the kayak was the last one in his group. Ava is the main character in the film “The Journals of Knud Rasmussen,” an incredibly powerful film made by Inuit in Igloolik in 2006 (it is viewable free on-line). Note the deep bow and broad and shallow aft-deck; these features give it a sea-kindliness and sea mammal hunting practicality that the caribou interceptors lack. The Iglulingmiut used two very distinct types of hunting kayaks: The maritime form just presented, but also types developed for intercepting caribou. Kayak 53, above and behind 52, is another replica of an Iglulingmiut maritime kayak; the originals of these two are the only full-sized examples of their type in museum collections, and one has since been destroyed (53).
Below Ava’s kayak, is an Iglulingmiut inland kayak (51)—a replica of an un-provenanced example in the Horniman Museum, London. This replica is covered with five deerskins, and is the builder’s first experience working with hides. Please feel free to touch the cover gently.
Central Columns, East Side:
Number 29 is a Caribou Inuit kayak replica, and this example, based on one collected by Captain George Comer in the 1890s, has the distinction of being the longest traditional kayak in the world (28’2-1/2” long, and only 18-1/2” wide). Granted a good seven feet of this kayak are its curious end-horns; these spikes serve no known practical function, but are consistent with this kayak-type, and such ends are depicted in engravings found in archaeological sites dating back some 800 years. The red and black color scheme is traditional, and occurs on many Caribou Inuit kayaks in museum collections.
Similar to the Caribou Inuit kayak is the Iglulingmiut kayak frame (30), hanging just below it. This too was a caribou-hunting kayak used on lakes and rivers. This example is a replica of one found in a mis-labeled box in the British Museum in the 1990s; Captain George Lyon of the H.M.S. Hecla collected it in 1821.
Three replicas of kayaks from Baffin Island are featured here: One is from Clyde River on North Baffin Island (31), and another from South Baffin Island (33). Capt. Wm. Parry of the Hecla collected the former in 1819 and Capt. Sir John Ross of the Victory likely collected the latter in the early1830s. The North Baffin type is shorter and wider (16 foot 9 inches by 26 inches) than the southerly kayak; The Inuit of Baffin Island used both types for seal, walrus, and whale hunting. The paddles used by Eastern Canadian Inuit were some of the longest in the arctic tradition, being roughly one-half a kayak’s length, which easily amounts to paddles over eleven feet long. The paddle in the South Baffin kayak has armored tips (plastic on the replica; ivory on the original). These tips would prevent the paddle from getting damaged in icy seas and could also be used to dispatch wounded whales. The South Baffin kayak measures 21 feet long and 24-3/4” wide. The third Baffin Island kayak replica (47) is probably a Pond Inlet type; the original pre-dates 1865. The coaming and float rack (on the aft-deck) are made from plastic, which serves as an effective representation of the original’s use of baleen.
Below the Baffin Island kayak replicas is a replica of a Labrador kayak that pre-dates 1756 (50). Its history is unknown aside from having been in the personal collection of Christophe-Paul de Robien, who died in 1756. The original may be the oldest intact kayak from Canada. This replica is equipped with a lance, harpoon, harpoon line stand, and inflated sealskin float (replica).
Kayak 32 (on the ground) is a replica of an East Hudson Bay kayak from Povungnituk/ Belcher Islands vicinity. It is shorter and much broader than the South Baffin Kayak, measuring 18’6” long and 31” wide. The horseshoe-shaped coaming was adopted when rifles were used for kayak hunting—a rifle could rest at the ready on the straight back piece. The multi-colored skin pattern on this kayak was a desirable scheme among some East Canadian Inuit: Sealskins have a black grain on them that can be left on or scraped off, revealing a yellow or white under-coloring. Other Arctic peoples had their own preferences (e.g., black/with grain for better water-resistance, or whitish for better camouflage), but rarely the two colors would appear so artfully on the same kayak. This kayak-type is known fairly well from Robert Flaherty’s film “Nanook of the North,” 1922. There is excellent footage of these kayaks throughout the film—the most memorable scene being a family and dogs climbing out of a kayak. . . . which was a trick of the camera, and NOT reality.
Behind this column of kayaks is a replica of a Cumberland Sound (Baffin Island) kayak from ca. 1909 (59). This uncovered-frame shows the nailed construction and use of pieced frames instead of bent ribs. This short kayak was used to retrieve seals shot from the shore.
Back of the East Wall:
From the top, Kayak 34 is a replica of an older Inuhuit (“great Inuit”) kayak; the original dates from 1909. The Inuhuit are the northern-most inhabitants of the world. The Inuhuit of Polar Greenland lived for a long time without having kayaks— kayaks weren’t in use there when Europeans first contacted them in 1818. In the 1860s, a powerful shaman from North Baffin Island vicinity led a small group of people to Polar Greenland where the travellers settled and intermarried. With them, they brought the knowledge of kayak building and hunting. As communication between more southerly Greenlanders and the Inuhuit increased, Inuhuit kayaks began to resemble the southern forms. Kayaks of the form represented by number 34 became extinct by the 1920s. Today, the Inuhuit are the only Arctic people that rely on kayaks for subsistence hunting.
The rest of the kayak replicas in the museum are all from Greenland. Explorers and other travelers have been bringing Greenland kayaks back to Europe since the 1200s, but the oldest surviving example dates from the 1570s. The oldest form in this collection is a replica of a kayak from 1606 at the Schiffergesellschaft in Lübeck, Germany (35). The Danish explorer Godske Lindenov seized the kayak—along with the paddler—near Sisimiut West Greenland, and brought them to Europe. This sort of kidnapping was not uncommon at the time, and it never ended well for the victims.
The next two kayaks (38, and 39) are replicas of West Greenland kayaks collected by Dutch Whalers in the 1600s. The black and white color scheme on no. 38 is on the original, but is not a Greenlandic element: the wavy white waterline is a common feature on Dutch sailing ships of the seventeenth century. The higher ends on kayak 39 suggest it is from a different region than the other two—perhaps from further up the West coast. The narrow beam of these kayaks—all less than 15-3/4”—makes them quite fast and easily driven. They are rather tippy at first . . . but so is a bicycle as you may recall.
Kayak 36 is a replica of a West Greenland kayak collected in 1789 by Scottish Whalers. The high ends—particularly the stern—act as silencers when the waves are up. Flat-decked kayaks will more readily immerse their ends in waves, and when they do so, there is often a loud slapping as the water comes over the decks: This is not helpful when stalking seals. This kayak is remarkably quiet in seas in which flatter kayaks are quite noisy.
By the mid-1800s, West Greenland hunters began to carry rifles on their kayaks. This had a sudden and distinct effect on the design of kayaks. The long narrow forms gave way to shorter and wider kayaks with lower ends. These changes could be expected as a more stable hunting platform would be needed for aiming, and a kayak would not have to be so swift and silent to get closer to seals. Rough water had been preferred for stalking seals with harpoons but with rifles (as well as the older hunting implements), rough or calm water were suitable. Rifles did not replace all of the hand-thrown implements, and the harpoon and lance were still necessary for recovering or dispatching seals that had been shot. Kayaks 40, 41, 42, and 43 are all rifle-period West Greenland kayaks.
Kayak 41 is a replica of a kayak from Upernavik (ca. 1930) on the northern end of the west coast. This replica is kitted out with typical seal hunting equipment of the day (the white-painted pieces of the hunting equipment were bone or ivory on the originals). The cloth screen on the kayak’s bow is a camouflage screen: surfacing seals might mistake the white as being a piece of ice (note the kayak is also painted white). The round stand positioned on the foredeck holds the coiled harpoon line. The harpoon line must be laid out precisely lest there be an entanglement when the harpoon is thrown. In the early 20th century in North Greenland, 16.8% of all deaths were hunting accidents—60% of which were kayak-related. The numbers were higher yet in South Greenland, where seas are open year-round (e.g. 19.1% of all deaths; 80% kayak-related).
Beneath the harpoon line stand is a rifle holster, with the butt raised on a wooden platform. These holsters were required by law in Greenland, as there had been accidents stowing guns between the hunters’ legs in kayaks. Occasionally a rifle and a shotgun would be carried, each in their own holster. To the right of the cockpit is the harpoon—positioned at the ready with the throwing board attached. Note the run of the harpoon line: It is attached to the harpoon head, and then runs down the shaft to a line-tightening fitting attached to the shaft. From here the line runs to the tray, where it is coiled. The end of the coil leaves the tray, and runs back along the coaming to an inflated sealskin float on the aft-deck. A skilled hunter could hit a seal with a harpoon up to sixty-feet away. As soon as the harpoon leaves the throwing board, the hunter puts the throwing board in his teeth, and reaches back to toss the sealskin float out and away from the kayak. A lance, used for killing harpooned seals, is positioned on the aft-deck. It is very similar to the harpoon, but has a fixed blade instead of a detachable point.
Forward End of the East Wall:
At the top-front of the East wall is a replica (40) of a West Greenland kayak from Nuuk, ca. 1950s. This is the common rifle-hunting form used in and around the fjords of Greenland’s capitol. The most interesting feature of this kayak is the re-curving keelson at the stern. This serves as an integral skeg, giving the kayak a straighter glide when the paddle is traded out for the rifle. Many Greenland kayaks of this period also had removable wooden skegs that could be lashed around the keel astern.
The second kayak down is yet another from the 17th century—collected by Dutch Whalers. This kayak (37) is 17 foot 10 inches long, and at 15 inches wide, is the narrowest kayak in the museum.
The next two kayaks down are both from South Greenland. Number 42 is a replica of an 1892 kayak from Qaqortoq, and number 43 is a replica of a Nanortalik kayak from ca. 1928. The ends of these kayaks are very low, and in the case of the Nanortalik kayak, gracefully curved in at the cutwater and very symmetrical bow-to-stern. Note the extensive deck rigging on the Nanortalik kayak—compare to the much more austere rigging found on the replicas of 17th century Greenland kayaks (e.g. 37). A Greenlandic-made model of a Nanortalik kayak is present in the model case, and is complete with hunting equipment and a figure.
Kayaks 44, 45, 46, and 62 are all East Greenland designs. Number 45 is a replica of a form that was extinct by the earliest years of the 1900s. Despite the Norse having had contact with Greenlanders since around 1200, Europeans did not make contact with the populations living in East Greenland (Ammassalik vicinity) until 1884. Kayak 45 was the common form used there at the time, but in very short time Ammassalik kayak builders emulated forms from South Greenland (such as kayak 43). Early visitors to Ammassalik did not collect any old-form East Greenland kayaks— thus it is remarkable that a full-size original is preserved in the Danish National Museum. The original made its way to Denmark in 1842, having been collected by Carl Høllbol of the Royal Danish Navy. He acquired it in southern-most Greenland, but it had been traded down the east coast from Ammassalik district. (Though limited, there had been intermittent contact between East and South Greenlanders.)
Kayaks 46 and 44 are replicas of the “new-mode” kayaks from East Greenland (ca. early 1930s). Kayak 44 is also kitted out with hunting equipment—much of which is similar to that on the Upernavik kayak (41). Note the different styles of shooting screens and harpoon line stands, as well as the different forms of lance and harpoon heads. This kayak (44) is a replica of one collected by Nobel Prize-winning biologist Nico Tinbergen in the early 1930s; it resides in the MUSEON, in Den Haag, NL. As mentioned in the introduction, Golden had to lengthen the cockpits of some replicas so as to make them usable—the original that replica 44 is based on had a coaming 15” long; the replica’s is 18-7/8” long, and is still a VERY tight fit for a 5’8” 130# ‘southerner.”
Kayak 62 is a replica of a shorter 'ice-floe' hunting kayak from Tiniteqilaaq East Greenland, 1970. The original's builder, Henrik Singhertek, sheathed the kayak's bow in metal to protect in in icy seas; the chines and keel also had metal edging, as did the paddle. The collector of the original, Gert Nooter, wrote that hunters in this vicinity salvaged aluminum from a helicopter wreck and made extensive use of it in their hunting equipment.
Notes on some of the other (non-kayak) craft in the Lincoln Street Kayak & Canoe Museum:
In the front of the museum are two roundish boats that look like baskets. These are coracles, and these forms hail from Ireland (2) and Wales (49). The Irish coracle—a type native to the Boyne River—is fashioned from woven hazel withies, and is of an ancient construct (Julius Caesar described such craft…) although instead of ox-hide this example is covered with tarred canvas; This coracle was made and donated by Steven Carrigg. Number 49 is a replica of a Cleddau River coracle, built by Harvey Golden from sawn ash strips, and tarred canvas. Coracles were used for tending salmon nets (in pairs), and for setting eel traps on small streams.
Coracle-form craft are known from peoples all ‘round the world, though their nuance of construction varies considerably, occasionally being pottery, or even elongated hooped-barrels. This latter construct is represented here by an Anwhei Province (China, near Nanking on the Yangtze) tub-boat (6, behind the outrigger sailing canoe). This original craft was used by beggars on the canals and channels of the Yangtze River in the 1930s. Tub boats are built like washtubs (or half-barrels), and probably were originally round; this example has proper stems, lending it more of a high-performance look. Note that the hoops are made of braided split bamboo. The photograph inside the craft shows a Wu-Hu tub-boat in use in the 1930s. The Japanese too use tub-boats, though in a very isolated area (Sado Island), and they are used in protected bays of the ocean for sea urchin fishing.
Canoes 3 and 4 are both Native American/First Peoples’ vessels. Number 3 (front of the east wall) is an original Algonquin birch-bark canoe from the 1950s (Made around the Quebec-Ontario border in Canada). This canoe has been used right up until its presence here, and it exhibits numerous repairs. Canoe 4, the green one beneath the outrigger sailing canoe, is a Kutenai Canoe replica, built by H. Golden. The Kutenai are an upper-Columbia River people, and they and neighboring peoples used these forms of canoe around southeastern British Columbia, NE Washington and Northern Idaho. The ends of the Kutenai canoe are very striking and are shaped thus due to material limitations in design and construction: The early originals were covered with pine bark, which is not nearly as pliable as birch-bark, thus when the bark was folded into a boat-shape, the ends lift up, and the upper opening doesn’t become broad enough for passengers until well inboard of the tips; This principle can easily be experienced by folding a stiff sheet of paper. Such unusual bow and stern shapes occur among bark canoes of Siberia, Africa, and Australia. The Kutenai canoe replica here represents an early 20th century form having a canvas covering instead of bark. Despite the availability of canvas, the Kutenai continued to build them in this form—a tried and true form that needed no further improvement.
Canoe 7, behind the Algonquin canoe, is an original Banca from the Philippines—likely from Mindinao. The hull is carved from a single mahogany log; note the checking at the ends . . . the builder left enough deadwood inside so the expected checking wouldn’t penetrate the hull. The hull is ¾” thick on the sides, and 1” thick on the bottom. Inside the canoe are the complete sail rigging and the double outriggers. The sail is a square boom lug sail fashioned from sugar sacks from Mindinao companies. The outriggers (one for each side) are fashioned from bamboo—note the hydrodynamic ‘nose-cones’ set into their forward ends. This canoe probably dates from the 1940s or 50s; it was acquired from an antique store in Portland. A model of this canoe (on the mast partner) shows the assembled craft—handle with care!
The fully-rigged sailing outrigger canoe (1) is a scaled-down yet fully functional replica of a Fijian Thamakau, based on drawings and photographs by James Hornell, as well as originals observed by the builder (H. Golden). The sailing rig is referred to as a crane sprit, and elsewhere as an oceanic lateen. This canoe does not tack, as occidental sailboats do, but instead it “shunts.” Shunting involves the mast being raked opposite and the foot of the sail being re-positioned at the canoe’s other end, whereupon the canoe takes its new course sailing ‘backwards.’ Page 38 in the book on-deck illustrates this concept, and contrasts it with tacking. It is critical to always keep the outrigger up-wind: If it should ever situate down-wind, the sail will press against the mast, sink the outrigger, and all will be upside-down very quickly in a tangled mess of rope and sail—the builder knows this from experience! A full-sized Thamakau would be anywhere from 20 feet-long up to 50 feet.
The bamboo-framed kayak (54) at the front window is a replica of one of the kayaks that Fritjof Nansen and Hjalmer Johansen paddled, sailed, and sledded during their attempt to reach the North Pole in 1895. Their voyage is documented in Nansen’s “Farthest North” (1897). The original bamboo kayaks are preserved at the Fram Museum in Oslo Norway.
At the base of the middle columns towards the front is the LSKCM’s only factory made vessel: A 1910 basswood canoe made by the Peterborough Canoe company in Ontario, Canada (5). This canoe has three basswood planks on each side of the keel, and is re-enforced inside with elm ribs and elm battens along the plank’s seams.
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