Accumulating artifacts for an historical exhibit like Denali Legacy might include some obvious similarities with the event itself. For example, the planning, like that of the Denali expedition, began well over a year ago. And there’s always a bit of luck involved with coordinating the supplies and other logistics necessary for any successful endeavor.
Although Hudson Stuck and Harry Karstens were dismayed when many items from the New York outfitter Abercrombie & Fitch didn’t arrive in time for their climb, they were able to take advantage of local resources to outfit the expedition.
A hundred years later, with the advantage of regular air mail and light speed communication, Guest Curator Angela Linn has had great success assembling items from the historical climb to use in the exhibit.
“We started this process thinking we would have one or two items from the climb, if that. But through the ‘magic’ of the internet and the ease of making connections, incredibly significant artifacts have shown up.”
Thanks to the foresight, and generosity, of the Karstens family, many of the items used by Harry Karstens will included in the exhibit, such as the climbing satchel he brought with him to the top of the mountain and his glacier goggles.
The family has also loaned the last remaining commemorative pin, commissioned by Hudson Stuck from Tiffany & Co for each of the climbers. The stickpin features a polished piece of granite from the mountain on the front and is inscribed on the reverse with the words “Denali, 7th June 1913.”
Linn said no amount of planning could have guaranteed success, but the exhibit will be much improved by the presence of these items. “The objects will help visitors make an immediate connection with the 1913 climb and turn the figures in the photos into real people.”