Sealaska Heritage



Alaska Mask Exhibit

Sealaska Heritage will open a new exhibit featuring Alaska Native masks in May 2017. Masks are an ancient tradition among Alaska Natives. They are the medium through which humans interact and communicate with the supernatural world. Masks are used in ceremonies and in dances to evoke, appease and influence the spirits they depict.

Masks are often used in theatrical performances or dance to tell mythological or historical legends. In some regions, masks are used to tease or ridicule fellow village members with the goal of resolving conflicts.  

While the basic meaning and use of masks are fairly uniform among the Native societies, their representations vary dramatically both in their realistic interpretations and surrealistic creations among the different tribal groups. Alaska Native masks reflect the artistic creativity and achievements of Alaska’s indigenous societies.  

The Alaska Native Mask Exhibit features traditional masks from the Iñupiat, Yup’ik, Alutiiq, Athabascan, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian. In this exhibit, masks are grouped by their cultural significance rather than by geographical divisions or cultural affiliation. This exhibit also contains masks that were made for sale, but these masks draw on the ancient meaning that gave rise to masks in each of these societies.

  • Admission: $5; $4 for seniors 65 and over. Children under age 7 admitted free
  • Summer Hours: Open daily, 9 a.m. –“ 8 p.m.
  • Address: Sealaska Heritage, 105 S. Steward Street Juneau, AK  99801
  • Call for more information: (907) 586-9124