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Alaskan artifacts on display donated by Donadio family

Published on Apr 11, 2019 by Paul K. Logsdon

#11 – An Ulo

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Students from Dr. Robert Bartels’ Geography class recently created a display of Alaskan artifacts from different towns and regions across Alaska.

The artifacts displayed by the students were donated by Ruth Donadio. Ruth and her late husband, the Rev. Pat Donadio, obtained the artifacts during their time of ministerial service in Alaska, from 1966 to 1987.

Ruth Donadio

The display is free and open to the public. It is located next to the Center for Student Success, on the second floor of Zimmerman Hall, which faces 1111 N. Glenstone Avenue.

Freshman Jordan Bell took an interest, after hearing about the “interesting cross-cultural experience” Donadio shared with the class.

Jordan Bell

As a social science education major, Bell said that he enjoyed working with a variety of people in his class while developing the display.


Objects represent the Eskimo culture

  1.  The lower jaw of a walrus from Point Hope, Alaska.
  2.  A change purse made from a spotted seal, tanned. This process is now extinct.
  3.  An eardrum of a whale from Point Barrow, Alaska.
  4.  A female walrus tusk.
  5.  A bone from an arctic animal used as a drinking utensil — Athabascan Indian culture.
  6.  Baleen, found in the throat of a whale, dried, stripped and woven into baskets.
  7.  Wood carvings from birch trees in Minto, Alaska, done by the Athabascan Indians.
  8.  Handmade beadwork by Athabascan Indian women, in the interior of Alaska.
  9.  Handmade beadwork by Athabascan Indian women on tanned caribou hide, in Ft. Yukon, Alaska.
  10.  An artifact cross, made from walrus bone, found in an Eskimo village on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska.
  11.  An Ulo — an Eskimo skinning knife for seal and walrus and sometimes small pieces of whale (for the blubber). The handle is made of bone from an animal.

“We first brainstormed a blueprint of how we wanted the finished display to look,” said Bell.

“Then, we broke up the tasks of sourcing materials and constructing the display into smaller teams. This worked out very nicely as everyone in the group had a direct role in constructing or developing the display.”

The public is invited to visit the display of what Bell describes as “truly unique and one of a kind” artifacts.

#4 – Walrus Tusk


The Reverend Dr. Patrick & Ruth Donadio

The Donadios have a long history of service work through the Assemblies of God, including 20 years in Alaska and a couple of decades more in Springfield, where he served as Director of U.S. MAPS (Mobilization & Placement Service) for ten years, followed by several leadership positions with AG World Missions.

According to Ruth, Pat was known for his pioneer spirit and great faith. He passed away in 2012.

Their ties to AG higher education include years of study at what is now the University of Valley Forge and at Central Bible College. Their two children are Evangel graduates, as are their spouses — Dale & Angela (Morris) Donadio and Robert & Doreen (Donadio) Kelley.

Evangel University, with the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Christian university committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the church and society globally. Evangel and AGTS serve more than 2,100 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 65 undergraduate majors and 19 master’s and doctoral degrees.


WRITTEN BY: Mollie Coday & Paul K. Logsdon

PHOTOS BY: Paul K. Logsdon


#3 – Whale eardrum


#5 – A drinking utensil


#6 – Baleen


#7 – Athabascan Indian carvings