E0207: Inuit- Snow Goggles


Classification Category:
3:Personal Artifacts ➞ Personal Gear
TAG: "Snow Goggl"
botanical ➔ wood
12 cm L
4 cm W
Provenance of Object:
This object was held in the museum that Luther College started in 1877. This museum eventually grew into the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, and following this, non-Norwegian American ethnographic objects were returned to Luther and accessioned into the college’s Anthropology Collection. Without additional documentation, was likely obtained by the Luther College Museum (later the Norwegian-American Museum) between the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Ethnic Group:
Native American ➞ Inupiaq
"The first use of snow goggles in North America is attributed to the ancestors of the modern Inuit, the Thule people (AD 1000-1600). Arctic groups such as the Inupiaq used snow goggles to help reduce snow/ice glare and exposure to the harsh Arctic sun, which can cause snow blindness, a condition that causes temporary blindness and may result in permanent eye damage. The goggles are crafted from a single piece of wood, bone, or leather. Oftentimes, the inside of goggles will be burned or painted black to further reduce the glare. The narrow slits limit the wearer’s field of vision, reducing the amount of extra light entering the eyes and improving visibility in a snow-covered environment, which especially helped hunters find their prey. This was especially important during the spring when the Arctic sun is at its peak, sometimes reaching 24-hour periods of sunlight." - from Emily England exhibit text, EXH 2014.01
Source Locality:
Brevig Mission, Alaska, USA
Acquisition Date:
1894 – 1917
Inuit snow goggles made of wood. Painted black in some areas to deflect sunlight. Used to prevent snow blindness. Donated by Rev. T.L. Brevig in 1898.
Related Collections
Accession: 1996.ETHN62, 1/1/96 Donated by: Unknown (1996.ETHN62)