To mark the American Museum of Natural History’s installation of an interactive Digital Totem in the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians, on July 27 visitors are invited to experience the cultures represented in the iconic hall. Enjoy three short films created by contemporary artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, great-grandson of Haida artist Charles Edenshaw; tour the hall with Sean Young, curator at British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii Museum, via a live telepresence robot; and explore artifacts with Museum educators.
The Digital Totem, an interactive installation that will be permanently added to the Museum’s oldest hall, brings contemporary Northwest Coast voices and new interpretation into this historic gallery with a touch-screen portal to the peoples, places, and sounds of the Pacific Northwest. Museum visitors will be able to meet Native residents in photos and interviews, examine 30 artifacts from the Museum’s collection via 360-degree rotations, listen to local languages, and create their own Northwest Coast soundscapes with recordings of natural features, animals, and local instruments.
To create the Digital Totem, the Museum worked closely with Northwest Coast collaborators and interviewed members of Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw, Haida, Nuu-chah-nulth, Musqueam, Gitxsan, Tlingit, and Tsimshian communities.