Sleds, pulled by teams of dogs, provide rapid transport throughout the year in the Arctic. There were a number of reasons for a journey across the snow, most particularly hunting, trading or visiting. Overland travel is done in winter, and the high bed of this type of sled keeps soft snow and rough ice away from occupants and protects boats when being carried to the floe edge. In the 1970s dog sleds were replaced by gasoline-engined vehicles called snowmobiles or snow machines.

This uniek is constructed of wood with mortise and tenon joints, pegged fittings and bindings of baleen (whalebone). It was collected at Nuvuk, or (Point) Barrow by Rochfort Maguire on HMS Plover in about 1852 to 1855. It is perhaps the oldest sled from Alaska. Nuvuk, about 500 kilometres inside the Arctic circle, is the most northerly community on the American mainland. Today Inupit maintain dog teams as a form of expressive culture to race in winter.


  • Title: Dog-sled (uniek)
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 250.00cm; Width: 58.00cm; Height: 60.00cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Registration number: Am1855,1126.354
  • Place: Found/Acquired Point Barrow
  • Peoples: Made by Eskimo-Aleut
  • Other information: Cultural rights may apply.
  • Material: wood; bone; fibre; whalebone
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Barrow, John. Collected by Maguire

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps