Thursday, 12 March 2015

Home Sweet Tipi

On display in the Pitt Rivers Museum you can find examples of various models of shelters that people have built during different time periods and in different cultures.  These example shelters were designed for different environments around the world: cold, hot and wet. If you look in the cases you will find a model igloo, a rainforest house on stilts, and also tipis. 

Model of Siberian bark tent used in summer,
Czaplicka collection © Pitt Rivers Museum 
This February half term we ran an event called Home Sweet Habitat and for this we looked at shelters and how people build them to protect themselves from the weather and other dangers in their environment. During the three-day event we made igloos and tipis and families could also play the Den Busters board game; a game in which you collect all the materials you need to build your shelter to win.

We have great examples of tipis in our collection that you can see on display in the Building and Housing cases. Tipis are a tent-like shelter that were mostly used by Native Americans in the past. Native Americans living on plains needed to move around a lot so they built portable homes called tipis. They moved so much because they hunted buffalo that roamed around looking for fresh grass to eat. They used the buffalo for meat and made shelter covers from their skins. The tipis in the museum have different covers including one made from reindeer skin. 

Model of Siberian reindeer skin tent,
Czaplicka collection © Pitt Rivers Museum 
Model of Laplanders tent 1884.1.3 © Pitt Rivers Museum

The examples in the photographs are from colder environments such as Siberia and Lapland. You can see that different materials have been used for colder and hotter times in the year, for example, reindeer skin for the winter and bark for the summer. 

Find instructions on how to make your very own mini tipi at home here

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