The Bernard Collection of Inuit Artifacts


The Bernard Collection of Inuit Artifacts


The Bernard Collection of Inuit Artifacts was donated to Loyola College in 1924 by Captain Joseph F. Bernard to inspire archaeological interest in invaluable ethnological specimens. It was to be housed in a proposed college museum. The museum was never built and the collection was displayed in one of the corridors of the Administration Building, where it remained until the early 60’s.

An early morning fire in the Tower of the Administration Building caused major smoke and water damage to most of the collection housed on the floor below. Water sodden and covered in black soot, the collection was taken from the building by fire fighters to be discarded. In the early hours of the morning, Father Stanley Drummond, S.J., who taught science at the College, hurried to retrieve as much of the collection as he could before it was relegated to the rubble heap. He filled box after box of the precious artifacts and brought them back to his room, where he painstakingly began long hours of work to save these rare treasures. Filling a bathtub with warm water, he began to gently soak each artifact to remove the smoke damage; he carefully patted each object, allowing it to slowly dry. For years he kept the collection under his bed as he tried to find a place to once again display the irreplaceable treasures. In 1993 Father Drummond approached Loyola High School, which was newly housed in its building on Sherbrooke St. and West Broadway. Father Drummond offered part of the collection to Loyola on the condition a display case be built in the library to house the artifacts. In December of 1995, the collection was installed and has been on display ever since. The rest of the collection is in the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa.

Collection Items

Captain Joseph F. Bernard and Scooner "Teddy Bear" (2 images)
Born in Tignish, Prince Edward Island on December 23, 1878, twenty year old Joseph F. Bernard and his uncle, made their way to Nome, Alaska to engage in trade along the Alaskan and Siberian coast. Aboard his 13-ton gasoline schooner, the “Teddy…

Inuit Attire (2 images)
Snow goggles to protect the eyes from the blinding sun were carved from wood into a spectacle shape with a narrow slit acting as a lens. The slit was too small to fill with snow but large enough to allow an unrestricted view. A narrow leather band…

Hunting Equipment (8 images)
Hunting equipment consisted of the bow and arrow, with a wood shaft and leather string. The arrows were wood with heads made of flint and bone. Due to the scarcity of wood many of the arrows were made up of three or four pieces of wood. Harpoons for…

Slingshots (1 image)
Slingshots fabricated from pieces of bone suspended at the end of interwoven cord were used to bring down birds on the wing.

Cooking Utensils (7 images)
Domestic life was clearly depicted by a number of articles in the collection: wooden dishes of various sizes, wooden ladles and ivory chisels and a variety of small eating and work knives.

Tallow Lamps (3 images)
Inuit lighting (tallow lamps) consisted of a shallow stone receptacle in which oil was lighted and allowed to burn slowly. Seal blubber was placed on a higher ridge on one side of the receptacle. This furnished the liquid which flowed into the lower…
View all 6 items