When the American Museum of Natural History launched the Jesup North Pacific Expedition in 1897, many native customs and languages had already disappeared, and scholars mistakenly assumed that soon the distinctive cultures of these peoples would completely vanish.

Today, over one hundred years later, we are returning photographs from the expedition to the communities where they were made. While they have changed in many ways over the last century, the indigenous northerners who were the subject of the initial expedition, and the communities in which they live, have certainly not disappeared, and are today engaged in an array of cultural and economic revitalization efforts. The images selected to be given to the museums in Siberia were originally included in Drawing Shadows to Stone: Photographing North Pacific Peoples (1897-1902), an exhibition held at the American Museum of Natural History in 1997 to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition.

More than merely an interesting perspective on an earlier moment in time, the return of these historical images is part of an ongoing dialogue between AMNH and the scholars and Native peoples of the Russian Far East.