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Down East Reports on Hudson Museum Artifact, Possible NFL Team Logo Inspiration

The May issue of Down East magazine carries a story titled “Seeing Double” that explores the possibility that a carved Northwest Coast transformation mask in the University of Maine’s Hudson Museum is the model for the logo of the 2014 Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

Hudson Museum Director Gretchen Faulkner said Richard Emerick, the late UMaine anthropologist and founder of the Hudson Museum, told her years ago that the brightly painted wooden mask was the inspiration for the logo. The mask has been attributed to the Kwakwakaëwakw — Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast.

When the Seahawks’ logo was unveiled in 1975, John Thompson, then-general manager of the team, was quoted saying the logo designers referenced books about Northwest Coast art for inspiration.

And then, in a blog post prior to Super Bowl XLVIII, Robin K. Wright, curator of Native American art at Burke Museum at the University of Washington, included a photo of the mask that was likely the inspiration for the logo. The photo, published in a 1950s book on Northwest Coast art, is a picture of the mask in the Hudson Museum.

In 1982, avid baseball fan William Palmer of Falmouth Foreside, Maine, bequeathed the mask, as well as other Northwest Coast art and a collection of Pre-Colombian artifacts, to UMaine.

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