House Model

This replica of the Haida Chief Skidegate's house, as well as twenty-four other house models, was first exhibited at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The models serve as a snapshot of the 19th-century village of Skidegate on the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia. As the original houses were far too large to transport, anthropologists commissioned Haida craftsmen to construct smaller and thus more mobile versions that would allow for the exhibition and study of the Haida aesthetic around the world.

A legend about a little girl and her grandmother also surround this type of architecture. A bear prevented the girl and her grandmother from collecting food. One day, a beaver passed by their house and noticed the beautiful totem pole on display. He recognized the decorations on the pole as the same ones that symbolized his family, and so realized that he was related to the little girl and her grandmother. The beaver then decided to help the girl and her grandmother defeat the bear and gain back their food supply. The totem pole saved this family, the legend emphasizing the importance of having one in front of a house.

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