SLAM Project 2015: Russian America Section

February 24, 2015

Here’s a snapshot of some of the conservation work ahead for the Russian America section of our upcoming new exhibits.  The Alaska State Library Archives and Museum (SLAM) project is in the construction phase, with opening of the new building planned for June 2016.  There are approximately 22 interpretive areas, around 90 exhibit cases, and roughly 2,500 objects. As I write this, we are beginning the ninth physical layout.

This important flag was thought to fly over Sitka during the transfer ceremony between the Russians and the Americans in 1867. ASM III-O-495

This important flag was thought to fly over Sitka during the transfer ceremony between the Russians and the Americans in 1867. ASM III-O-495

The wool of the flag sheds readily, and is rather delicate.

The wool of the flag sheds readily, and is rather delicate.

Records suggest the flag was stitched down to a support fabric of linen some time in the 1930s.  These stitches are not sufficient to allow the flag to be displayed at an incline as we would like, so some additional couching stitches will need to be added in many locations.

Records suggest the flag was stitched down to a support fabric of linen some time in the 1930s. These stitches are not sufficient to allow the flag to be displayed at an incline as we would like, so some additional couching stitches will need to be added in many locations.

This bust of William Seward by Chauncey Bradley Ives has long been in the entry to the Alaska State Library's Historical Collection, but will now help interpret Alaska's political history.  The stone is shockingly grimy.

This bust of William Seward by Chauncey Bradley Ives has long been in the entry to the Alaska State Library’s Historical Collection, but will now help interpret Alaska’s political history. The stone is shockingly grimy.

Many of the metals in the Russian America section have corrosion, polishing residues, failing lacquers, and other issues common to historic metals.  This samovar, ASM III-R-319, has a few of these issues on some components.

Many of the metals in the Russian America section have corrosion, polishing residues, failing lacquers, and other issues common to historic metals. This samovar, ASM III-R-319, has a few of these issues on some components.

This poor little Unangan (Aleut) kayaker has quite a few condition issues.  His lead hands are corroding, his visor has a broken off tip, the gutskin parka he is wearing has some old insect damage, and he is heavily soiled.  ASM II-F-272.

This poor little Unangan (Aleut) kayaker has quite a few condition issues. His lead hands are corroding, his visor has a broken off tip, the gutskin parka he is wearing has some old insect damage, and he is heavily soiled. ASM II-F-272.


SLAM Project 2015: Resilience Section

February 23, 2015

 

The Alaska State Library Archives and Museum (SLAM) project is in the construction phase, with opening of the new building planned for June 2016.  We are preparing collections for exhibit.  There are approximately 22 interpretive areas, around 90 exhibit cases, and roughly 2,500 objects. As I write this, we are beginning the ninth physical layout.  Here are some of the conservation tasks identified from the first layout and a glimpse of our process.  I hope to post regularly for each of these sections.  Stay tuned!

From L to R: exhibit designer Aaron Elmore, exhibits curator Jackie Manning and curator Steve Henrikson working together on the layout for the Resilience section of the new exhibits.

From L to R: exhibit designer Aaron Elmore, exhibits curator Jackie Manning and curator Steve Henrikson working together on the layout for the Resilience section of the new exhibits.

 

Jackie measures Kow.ee's police uniform while registrar Andrew Washburn holds it up.  Hardhats and loud vests are due to the collections storage and processing areas being in the middle of an active construction zone.  In order to access the site, we are required to wear protective gear.

Jackie measures Kow.ee’s police uniform (ASM III-O-416) while registrar Andrew Washburn holds it up. Hardhats and loud vests are due to the collections storage and processing areas being in the middle of an active construction zone. In order to access the site, we are required to wear protective gear.

This dress (bodice and skirt) was made and worn by Lily Yarkwaan.  Please note all spelling errors are mine!

This bodice (and skirt, not shown) was made and worn by Lily Yarkwaan. Please note all spelling errors are mine! ASM 2000-12-1

The dress has baleen stays inside, some of which are loose, as well as some wear and tear.  This will be stabilized before it is put on a mannequin.  Gearing up for making dozens of mannequins is starting now, too.

The dress has baleen stays inside, some of which are loose, as well as some wear and tear. This will be stabilized before it is put on a mannequin. Gearing up for making dozens of mannequins is starting now, too.

This Russian Orthodox lamp has wax residues (which we'd like to keep) and polishing residues (which we'd like to remove).

This Russian Orthodox lampada has wax residues (which we’d like to keep) and old polishing residues (which we’d like to remove). Polishing residues are disfiguring and can cause corrosion stress cracking in the metal. ASM 2001-10-12

Several of our Russian Orthodox icons had loose and flaking paint, expertly stabilized on site during a visit by paintings conservator Gwen Manthey.

Several of our Russian Orthodox icons had loose and flaking paint, expertly stabilized on site during a visit by paintings conservator Gwen Manthey.

This is an important 1872 painting of a fur seal rookery on St Paul Island in the Bering Sea by Henry W. Elliott.  Paper conservator Karen Zukor was here last month assessing the paper items designated for exhibit and gave us a condition report and cost estimate for treatment.

This is an important 1872 painting of a fur seal rookery on St Paul Island in the Bering Sea by Henry W. Elliott. Paper conservator Karen Zukor was here last month assessing the paper items designated for exhibit and gave us a condition report and cost estimate for treatment of this artwork. ASM 2005-41-1