Biographies of Objects

Book your place for online talk CREATIVE CONVERSATIONS WITH INDIGENOUS CANADA: EDEN ROBINSON, Thursday 10 December at 5pm. This event is one in a collaborative series between the University of Glasgow Creative Conversations programme and Alexandra Abletshauser's Biographies of Objects project. 

Among the many holdings of The Hunterian collections can be found items such as a pair of mittens from the Huron-Wendat from the Great Lakes region in North America and a parka from the Inuit from Baffin Island, Canada. The online catalogue provides us with information regarding the objects’ materials and their possible geographical origins. However, it does not provide us with any information of their makers or who brought them to The Hunterian. The catalogue leaves the following questions unanswered: Who made the objects and why? How did they come the long way from North America to Scotland? Who brought these objects to Scotland and why?

This project will explore the histories of Indigenous objects from North America and the changing stories and narratives of objects from the past to the present. Many objects came to Scotland in the nineteenth century. I will analyse the British perceptions of North American Indigenous peoples during the nineteenth century. This project will further examine how museums deal with the colonial past and acquirement of Indigenous objects. In addition, it will demonstrate how contemporary museum practices are changing and begin to include Indigenous viewpoints and de-centring Eurocentric views.


Alexandra Abletshauser, Doctoral Candidate in Canadian Literature.
Alexandra is working on Canadian prose writing from 1880 to 1914. She explores how English-Canadian and French-Canadian women writers used to emotions to engage in contemporary discussions on social and political issues.



Mittens - GLAHM:E.105, mitten, Huron-Wendat
Parka - GLAHM:E.1984.5/1, parka, Inuit