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Background on Nunavut artifacts

Artifacts found in and belonging to Nunavut have been present at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre since its inception. Some pieces in the collection have been in storage since they were acquired in the 1980s. Other items were exhibited in the Northern Heritage Centre galleries in the 1980s and 1990s.

With the creation of Nunavut and separation from the Northwest Territories in 1999 and the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre’s renovation in 2003, all Nunavut materials were moved into storage where they could be properly cared for in a climate controlled environment.

Following an agreement with the Government of Manitoba and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Government of Nunavut is moving nearly 8,000 items that are categorized as Inuit Fine Arts; sculptures from across Nunavut, ceramics from Rankin Inlet, and wall hangings, tapestries, prints & drawings from communities like Cape Dorset, Pangnirtung and Baker Lake.

Many of Nunavut’s artifacts from archaeological research will remain in storage at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre. These are objects relating to Inuit lifestyles, like hunting tools and household equipment; caribou skin clothing, arts and craft items; and historical objects like dentistry equipment from the former Chesterfield Inlet hospital and a ship’s bell from the Nascopie.