Angyaaq model, Sugpiat, Southern Alaska, Late 19th Century. Cat. no. 873. Gift of Mrs. James T. White.
Photo: Burke Museum
To begin, Sven turned to a model Angyaaq in the Burke collection—one of only 13 such models found in museum collections in the world. The model Angyaaq shows the different pieces and materials needed, while giving clues about the engineering techniques used to build a full-size version (said to be over 25 feet long). He reverse-engineered it through sketches and photos, and created a model kit to practice the techniques involved in the construction of the boat.
"We're trying to bring this knowledge back into a living context by learning from what we have and by working with communities."
– Sven Haakanson, Burke Museum Curator of Native American Anthropology
The following spring, Sven, along with a team of Burke staff and students, began cutting and preparing the cedar wood for a full-size Angyaaq on the Burke’s loading dock to learn from the process. After several weeks of work, they had a complete frame ready to assemble!
Meanwhile, a team of students, staff and volunteers at the Burke Museum are working on the final tying and wrapping steps to make the Seattle-area Angyaaq seaworthy. And this time visitors can watch the process unfold in the Burke gallery during the month of December 2015.