Stauffer family’s Inuit carving collection at home at AU
Like many rookie RCMP constables, Scott Stauffer started his career in Canada’s far north. During his first posting in Yellowknife in 1979, he developed a keen interest in Inuit soapstone carvings.
He made the first of many purchases in Kugluktuk on Canada’s north shore. As his passion for the art form grew, he learned more about leading Inuit artists, their techniques and how the colour of each soapstone pinpoints the region it came from.
A subsequent posting to Rankin Inlet further expanded Scott’s collection. His work required him to visit far-flung communities where he scoped local stores for carvings. Before long, carvers throughout the area heard of his interest and started bringing their work to him.
Following a 1994 transfer to Alberta, the Scott and his wife Karen proudly displayed their collection in their Fort McMurray house, but as they began planning for retirement and downsizing, they knew they needed a new home for the art.
After discussions with AU President Frits Pannekoek, the couple decided to donate their collection to the University. “I have a long history with the University as both a student and an employee,” explains Karen. “I am thrilled that this collection, for which we both have a huge emotional attachment, will be kept and displayed at AU. We feel we still have some connection to the carvings and always will.”