The Legacy Ltd


Helen Carlson

Helen Carlson, co-owner of The Legacy Ltd, brings her eye for quality to a gallery with an international reputation as a source for the finest examples of Northwest Coastal Art. Clients include The British Museum as well as other major museums and an outstanding list of private collectors.

A native of Seattle, Helen has been interested in Northwest Coast Indian art since the 1970’s when she studied with Bill Holm and Robin Wright at the University of Washington. She learned about many aspects of Northwest Coast Native art and culture while at the UW. She received a BA in anthropology in 1980. One part of her training in archaeology included working at The Ozette Archaeological site on the Olympic Peninsula with the Makah tribe and Washington State University. Helen also took part in archaeological  surveys on the Columbia River and in the Puget Sound area. During college she also studied photography and after graduating from the UW she pursued a career in photography. Since 1977 photography has been a passion as well as a career and she has photographed many artists, dance groups and events in the Native American communities. She has won numerous awards for her photographs.

The Legacy can trace its roots back to 1933 when “Mac” McKillop founded Mack’s Totem And Curio Shop. Mac’s son John and his wife Mardonna took over the shop at the Marion street location in the early 1970’s, and in 1983 they moved the gallery to the Alexis Hotel location on 1st Avenue. The Legacy Ltd. features the finest in contemporary and historic art and objects.

Paul Nicholson

In 1975, when I was 22 years old, I made the first of three half-year trips to southern Mexico and Guatemala. The purpose was to study Spanish and Mayan in order to gain admission to post-graduate studies in linguistics at the University of Washington. The exposure to the extremely rich culture and artistry of the Mayan people, and the extent to which it pervades the politically dominant Ladino society, was an eye-opening experience for me. I studied Mayan history, mathematics, mythology, and art to better understand how native qualities and knowledge had combined with European-derived institutions of law and governance to create hybrid societies.

Once at the UW, I began to study the local Salish language Lushootseed with Vi Hilbert, and to study the arts and culture of the tribes of the Northwest Coast with Bill Holm and Marvin Oliver. I worked at the Ozette archaeological site for WARC and the Makah tribe. It was at this time that I began to study the graphic arts of the Northwest Coast. I had learned printing techniques at jobs I held between trips south and began to use those skills to print editions of prints for a number of artists in the area. Over the years I have printed editions for Greg Colfax, Tony Hunt, Marvin Oliver, David Boxley, Robert Davidson and many other Native American artists and arts organizations.

One of my earliest customers was The Legacy Ltd and the gallery has always carried prints that I had produced since those days. In September of 2000 I was in the gallery to deliver some prints to Mardonna when she told me of her intention to sell the gallery. I told her that Helen and I were interested in purchasing it and by the end of 2001 we had finalized our purchase. We have maintained the dedication to quality material that has been a hallmark of the Legacy and we will provide customer service tailored to your desires. We look forward to hearing from you soon.