The Anthropology Collections consist of about 4,500 objects.
Archaeological artifacts excavated from local sites represent well-documented research collections of our earliest known human inhabitants of Kachemak Bay, from Ocean Bay Culture 4500 years BP through Kachemak Tradition to prehistoric Dena’ina Athabaskans around 1400 AD and coastal Sugpiaq sites.
Ethnographic artifacts include basketry, dolls, fishing and hunting implements, watercraft, household tools, clothing and ornamental objects representing regional Native Alaskan coastal cultures, including Dena’ina, Sugpiaq-Alutiiq, and Aleut. One of the rarest artifacts is a well-preserved, 1000-year-old Kachemak Tradition birch bark basket that miraculously survived in a tide-swept cliff.
The Museum is recognized by the Kenaitze Indian Tribe of Dena’ina Athabaskans as a regional repository for cultural materials, and cares for its repatriated counting cords and excavated archaeological materials from the Upper Russian River.
Recently, the Museum completed an inventory of artifacts in the collection related to the Lower Kenai Peninsula, with special attention to Sugpiaq materials. A collaboration with visiting researcher Medeia Csoba DeHass funded through the Museums Alaska Collections Management grant resulted in a catalog of these collections. The Sugpiaq Catalog spans a wide range of collections objects, archives, and media, and includes information provided through workshops with representatives from source communities. Please feel free to view the Sugpiaq Catalog here, and contact Collections Manager Savanna Bradley with any questions, comments, or concerns.
Inside the Museum, the History Collection of 4,500 objects features Russian and American influences represented by trapping, whaling, fishing, mining, fox farming and agricultural tools, religious memorabilia, and household items.
On Pratt Museum grounds, the historic Harrington cabin is furnished with a homestead collection of over 1,200 artifacts, including hand-tooled equipment, catalog-ordered household goods, and handmade personal items, encompassing the most complete time capsule of self-reliant homestead life in Homer from 1920-1960. The cabin can be seen outdoors along with the 1929 Nordby outhouse, the oldest two-seater in town.
The History Collection covers a wide range of media documenting the pioneer experience in Homer in addition to the material artifacts accessioned into collections. Other resources document regional homesteading and community development such as maps, nautical charts, surveys, correspondence, newspapers, photographs, oral history tapes, and films. A unique addition to our History collection are our three historic boats, yielded through collaborative restoration efforts with the Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Society.
The Pratt’s Art Collection includes over 250 artworks. This number includes more than 150 paintings, drawings, prints, textiles, 10 exquisite jewelry pieces, and over 90 pieces of three-dimensional art, all by regional artists. Over 111 pieces have been acquired through the generous support of the Rasmuson Foundation’s Art Acquisition Fund. A mission-based Art Acquisition Policy guides the community members on the Pratt’s Art Acquisition Committee in the thoughtful selection of artworks.
The Pratt also holds a Quilt Collection of more than 20 locally made quilts that are often integrated thematically with Museum exhibits. Fifteen of these quilts were created by community quilters as complementary projects to the Museum’s annual fundraising raffle quilts. Those in the permanent collection draw on a variety of cultural and natural history themes, such as historic buildings, wildflowers, and the changing of the seasons. They exemplify the vital tradition of community that has been the foundation for the Pratt Museum.