Brief Alaskan Drum Survey

Brief Alaskan Drum Survey

Ellen Carrlee, Conservator, Alaska State Museum

April 6, 2009

 

For both groupings, there seemed to be no pattern to whether they were being stored with the skin touching the shelf surface or if it was only resting on the edge of the frame.  

 

NORTHERN ALASKAN CULTURAL GROUPS

Skin tends to be identified as stomach or bladder of walrus or seal if identified at all in the Alaska State Museum records, usually is much thinner than the drum skins from Southeastern Alaska cultural groups.  The thin material is either sandwiched between hoops of the frame or bound to the outside of the frame.

 

II-A-2431 (pre-1967) Hoop only, skin fragments just on edge.

II-A-3682 (1913) On exhibit, no serious RH damage

II-A-3683 (c. 1910-21) no serious RH damage

II-A-4223 (1965) Model Drum. Detached in places but not torn

II-A-4414 (pre-1945) Hoop only, no skin

II-A-4415 (pre-1967) Hoop only, no skin

II-A-4416 (pre-1967) Hoop only, skin fragments just on edge.

II-A-4622 (1970) Model. small edge tear, repaired with translucent stiff adhesive?

II-A-5416 (1940’s or earlier) Wrinkled a bit.  Ethnographic repairs?

 

II-A-5416 area of possible ethnographic repair

II-A-5416 area of possible ethnographic repair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

II-A-6334  (pre-1980) Model drum, no serious RH damage

II-A-6335 (pre-1980) Model drum, no serious RH damage

II-A-6479 (1973)  No RH damage, has a buffering pad of cotton batting

 

II-A-6479 with cotton pad to buffer changes in RH

II-A-6479 with cotton pad to buffer changes in RH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


II-A-6892 (c. 1918) Skin not torn, but detached from the frame and stored separately.

92-2-94     (date unknown) Model drum, no serious RH damage

97-35-14 (c. 1913-1940’s) no serious RH damage

 

SOUTHEASTERN ALASKA CULTURAL GROUPS

Skin tends to be identified as rawhide or deerhide if identified in the records.  Attached to thick wooden rims by stretching or nails or both.  Surface of skin frequently painted.

 

II-B-724 (1910-12) no serious RH damage

II-B-1000 (pre-1959) no serious RH damage

II-B-1130 (1900-1930) tear of several inches, associated with a puncture?

II-B-1139 (1899-1928) warped into a saddle shape, but not torn

 

II-B-1139 This seems to be what happens if the skin is stronger than the hoop.

II-B-1139 This seems to be what happens if the skin is stronger than the hoop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


II-B-1140 (1899-1928) tear in from one edge

II-B-1141 (1900-1930) no serious RH damage, skin is slightly wavy

II-B-1653 (1960-69) small tears on hide wrapped onto rim but not on the face

II-B-1902 (looks quite old) no serious RH damage, still has a bit of fur, ID might be possible.

96-31-1 (1996) Buffering pad of cotton batting and a sheet of Mylar stored behind

 

91-31-1 has cotton batting, mylar, and a piece of foam to keep them in place.  This was inserted several years ago to help buffer changes in RH.

91-31-1 has cotton batting, mylar, and a piece of foam to keep them in place. This was inserted several years ago to help buffer changes in RH.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTERIOR ALASKAN CULTURES

II-C-272 (c. 1964-1980) on exhibit, no serious RH damage

II-C-275 (1970) no serious RH damage

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4 Responses to Brief Alaskan Drum Survey

  1. LaRue Barnes says:

    Great article! Ellen, if you were to advise a dance group on what kind of case to make to protect drums in between practices and performances – what would you recommend? I like the cotton pad inside the drum and maybe a simple padded case. Ours get set aside and put in plastic totes with other things. Something could be made at the same time as putting them together. Question-what kind of case for a working drum? Or do you know what other dance groups use?

  2. ellencarrlee says:

    Hi LaRue!
    I’ve put dataloggers in collections cabinets and on open shelving right next to the cabinet, and also tried the comparison with a datalogger in a ziplock bag and one right next to it but not in a bag. In both of these experiments, I was surprised what a big difference there was. The cabinet environment was much more stable than just on the shelf. Ditto in the bag. So in my mind’s eye, I imagine a custom-made cotton pad filled with cotton batting that fits inside the drum (like the one in the psoting), then maybe a white cotton sheet wrapped around the whole thing, and then the drum going into one of those big ziplock bags that they make for storage of sweaters and the like, and finally a large Tupperware-style box with a snap lid that provides some rigidity while being lightweight and acts like a cabinet. Of course, I’m not a drummer and have no idea what obstacles that fantasy creates. I will chat with Scott about how we might find out what other drummer do…that’s a great question.

  3. LaRue Barnes says:

    Thanks Ellen! I put the suggestion along to our dance group leader with my offer to get the things. I know space is a concern for her. The large zip lock bag is a great idea. Your whole suggestion sounds practical for us. I’ll keep in touch. . .

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