Using techniques to create three-dimensional models including photogrammetry and white-light scanning, the project team is actively exploring ways to use new digital tools to reconnect Sámi communities with museum collections housed around the world. 


Of the 158 million things housed by the Smithsonian Institution, about 56 objects originate from Sámi communities. By all accounts a small group of objects—even by the standards of the Arctic collections at the Institution—it may be easily overlooked or dismissed as insignificant, based on entrenched ideologies about idealized collections. Presenting a community-based methodology for the engagement of distant museum collections using three-dimensional technologies, this article establishes the latent potential of small collections for Indigenous communities. We demonstrate how a group of 56 objects not only chronicles complex histories of exchange and colonialism, but also provides a manageable conduit for learning and exchange to facilitate the continued restructuring of relationships between museums and descendent stakeholders, from the individual to community level. Small collections, far from incomplete, may not only contain materials significant to descendent groups on their own terms, but provide the grounds to generate new forms of Indigenous initiated, balanced reciprocity.

Read the article here.