Yupik Ceremonial Gut Parka

Exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History | May 28—September 2, 2019


Curated by a team of Columbia University Museum Anthropology graduate students, this case features a striking 19th century sanightaaq, or Siberian Yupik ceremonial gut parka. The garment was a powerful link to the animal and spirit worlds of the Bering Strait and remains valued by Yupik people today.



Siberian Yupik visitors at AMNH in 2017. During the visit, Elena Kaminskaya (left) said she “felt a reunion with [my ancestors].”
AMNH Conservation


The student curators of this exhibit researched additional Siberian Yupik and Chukchi objects in the AMNH collection, presented here.

Most of this material was collected during the Jesup North Pacific Expedition (1897–1902), which studied indigenous cultures in northeastern Siberia and on the northwest coast of the Americas.



Winter Gut

Tjiong, Amy Y. (2018) “Getting to the Gut of the Matter: Experimentation and Descendant Community Engagement Within the Context of the Conservation of Siberian Yupik Winter Gut Parkas” Master’s thesis, Columbia University.

Siberian Yupik and Chukchi Peoples

AMNH Research Library Digital Special Collections Photographs of Yupik and Chukchi people, objects and environments from the Jesup North Pacific Expedition (1897-1902).

Bogoras, Waldemar. (1904-1909) The Chukchee. Vol. 7, Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

Bogoras, Waldemar. (1913) The Eskimo of Siberia. Vol. 8, Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

Kerttula, Anna. (2000). Antler on the Sea: The Yupik and Chukchi of the Russian Far East. The Anthropology of Contemporary Issues. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Jesup North Pacific Expedition, 1897-1902

AMNH Division of Anthropology Jesup Collection search

Climate Change in the Arctic

AMNH Climate Change resources

The Earth Institute, Columbia University: Climate


The M.A. in Museum Anthropology is offered jointly by the Columbia Department of Anthropology and the American Museum of Natural History, combining the strengths of these premier anthropological departments, collections and archives.

Students enrolled in the program for 2018-2019 curated “SANIGHTAAQ: Yupik Ceremonial Gut Parka.” They drew on the collections and research of AMNH’s Jesup North Pacific Expedition (1897-1902) and the conservation of this material by AMNH’s Object Conservation Laboratory in consultation with Native experts. Students were introduced to the process of making and designing exhibitions by AMNH staff and through visits to independent studios.

For more about the Museum Anthropology program visit Columbia’s Department of Anthropology website.



Curation, Writing, Design Direction
Jacqueline Devereaux | Zhuo Diao | Alexandra Fanelli | Zhixuan Huang | Yangchun Liu | Jacalyn Malsich | Justin Ramos | Colleen Swift | Michaela Warshaw | Lani Haramaty Wyman | Deren Zhang
Theresa Ding | Ally Gravina
Professors and Project Directors
Laurel Kendall, Curator, Asian Ethnographic Collections and Chair, Division of Anthropology, AMNH. Adjunct Professor, Columbia University | David Harvey, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University. Former Senior Vice President of Exhibition, AMNH
Laura Allen
Exhibit Design and Production
Elizabeth Anderson
AMNH Division of Anthropology
Judith Levinson, Director of Conservation | Samantha Alderson, Conservator | Anita Caltabiano, Administrative Director | Nina Gregorev, Database Administrator | Kristen Mable, Registrar for Archives and Loans | Katherine Skaggs, Senior Museum Specialist | Vera Solovyeva, Associate | Gabrielle Tieu, Associate Conservator | Amy Tjiong, Associate Conservator
AMNH Exhibition
Lauri Halderman, Vice President of Exhibition | Melissa Posen, Senior Director of Exhibition and Exhibition Capital Projects
Dean Markosian, Director of Project Management | Michael Meister, Director of 3D Design | Sasha Nemecek, Associate Director of Exhibition Interpretation | Brett Peterson, Assistant Director of Media and Interactives | José Ramos, Graphics Research Supervisor | Joel Sweimler, Senior Developer | Catherine Weese, Director of Exhibition Graphic Design
AMNH Library
Rebecca Morgan, Special Collections Archivist | Gregory Raml, Special Collections and Research Librarian
Columbia University
Brian Boyd, Director of Museum Anthropology | Marco Antonio Castro Cosio, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Digital Media, Materiality and Museum Culture | Zoe Crossland, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director, Center for Archaeology | Courtney Hooper, Director, Academic Administration and Finance, Department of Anthropology | David Scott, Ruth and William Lubic Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology | Garen Tchopourian, Web Developer, Faculty of Arts and Sciences | Renee Tenenbaum, Business Manager, Department of Anthropology
Parka Species Identification
Daniel Kirby
Special thanks to
Aron Crowell, Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center | Steven Jacobson, University of Alaska Fairbanks | Lawrence Kaplan, University of Alaska Fairbanks | Igor Krupnik, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
3D Model
Tom Flynn,
Sanightaaq pronunciation
Yupik pronunciation by Vera Kaneshiro. Audio courtesy of the Arctic Studies Center, Smithsonian Institution.

The exhibit and this website were made possible with the generous support of the Columbia University Department of Anthropology and in-kind support from the American Museum of Natural History.

The AMNH Siberia Conservation Project was supported by the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the Stockman Family Foundation Trust.

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