• Three Iñupiat men paddling a whaling boat

    Iñupiat Heritage Center

    Alaska

About the Center

The Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, Alaska was designated an affiliated area of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park in New Bedford, Massachusetts to ensure that the contributions of Alaska Natives to the history of whaling is recognized. More than 2000 whaling voyages from New Bedford sailed into arctic waters during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Many Alaska Natives, particularly Inupiat Eskimo people, participated in commercial whaling. In addition to crewing on the ships they hunted for food for the whalers, provided warm fur clothing, and sheltered many crews that were shipwrecked on the Alaska coast.

The Inupiat Heritage Center was dedicated in February 1999 and houses exhibits, artifact collections, library, gift shop, and a traditional room where people can demonstrate and teach traditional crafts in Elders-in-Residence and Artists-in-Residence programs. As an affliated National Park, the North Slope Borough owns and manages the Inupiat Heritage Center. The Heritage Center is one of several partners, associated through New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park legislation, who participate in telling the story of commercial whaling in the United States. Park partners operate independently but collaborate in a variety of educational and interpretive programs.

Inupiat Heritage Center Programs