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
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.
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.
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.