The Things They Carried


Image of Harry Karstens on Denali published in the book The Seventymile Kid by Tom Walker.

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.


The satchel carried by Harry Karstens on the1913 Denali expedition.

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.


Guest Curator Angela Linn examines artifacts loaned to the museum by the Harr Karstens family for the exhibit Denali Legacy.

“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.


“Denali; 7, June 1913” tie pin commissioned by Hudson Stuck for the members of the expedition. Made by Tiffany & Co.

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.”


About University of Alaska Museum of the North

Tour the North. Explore the Museum. The University of Alaska Museum of the North is a thriving visitor attraction, a vital component of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the only research and teaching museum in Alaska. The museum’s research collections – 1.4 million artifacts and specimens – represent millions of years of biological diversity and thousands of years of cultural traditions in the North. Museum members receive free admission to the exhibit galleries throughout the year. The Museum Store features items that relate to the museums collections, and all proceeds support the museum’s operations.
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One Response to The Things They Carried

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