Cleaning Native Leather In Use?

January 29, 2018

0B36C027-6E3D-4D9E-8466-4CC46E728E8AThis beaded leather Athabascan vest is the subject of a recent question to the Alaska State Museum: tribal members want to know how to clean leather. The tribe is conducting interviews with members to record the meanings and origins of important regalia and taking photographs. This vest is the Chief’s vest, and still in active use. The tribe does not have a large number of cultural heritage pieces, making it rare and important. Elders still wear items of regalia like this, and some elders may “take them on their journey at their end of this life.” The Cultural Program Manager for the village traditional council is wondering how the normal soiling from years of use might be cleaned, and how they might provide ongoing care for things like this.  We need to take into consideration museum care standards but also the cultural need to continue using the vest.

I love this question because we are hearing it more and more at the Alaska State Museum…how to support the care of objects in active cultural use? On the one hand, there are commercial products that might reduce some of the stains seen here, but those chemicals might shorten the longevity of the leather. Proprietary commercial products often contain extra chemicals that are not useful and can be harmful, and the strength of the active ingredients can be much more harsh than we would use in a museum setting. In the museum setting, the prevention protocols would be very strict and we’d be aiming to preserve this vest for around 500 years.

 

I’m not certain the exact leather technology we are seeing in the photo, but if I had to guess I would think perhaps a Native-tanned moosehide (perhaps similar to the technique currently being collaboratively studied at the Anchorage Museum…keep an eye out for the report on that project). The thickness, color, and Athabascan origin make me think it might be moosehide. You can see a fuzzy suede-like layer on the front of the vest, and a grain layer on the interior of the vest. If a leather is flexible, everything but the grain layer is like a felted tangle of collagen (skin protein) fibers. The grain layer is the layer that had the fur…the layer we typically see on the outside of a motorcycle jacket or baseball glove. Some Native-tanned leathers have the grain layer removed. But behind the grain is that felt-like tangle. The suede-like part. The flexibility of leather is maintained by the tanning process which lubricated the fibers to prevent them from binding up with each other. This happens BEFORE the leather is dried, which is part of why WE DON’T USE LEATHER DRESSINGS: https://museumbulletin.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/alaska-state-museums-bulletin-58/

Here’s the tricky part…the cleaning techniques conservators like to use on leather are usually done dry (things like vacuuming, the dry use of soot sponges or urethane sponges, gentle cleaning with unvulcanized rubber such as Groom/Stick or vinyl such as a white eraser…) These can be a little bit abrasive, pull up fibers, or deposit crumbs of the cleaning sponge in the structure of the leather, but it is hard to cause serious damage with those techniques. Unfortunately, those techniques don’t tend to get rid of greasy soiling, such as from body oils, sweat, or food residues. In order to remove that kind of soiling, conservators might turn to wet techniques (distilled water with various substances added to enhance cleaning, detergents, solvents etc). But the danger in going with wet cleaning is that the things intentionally put in the leather during its manufacture that keep it supple and soft can ALSO be cleaned right out or moved around by wet techniques. This can result in stiff, shrunken, darkened, or distorted leather. It could also cause the stains to simply move around or go deeper into the leather and not actually come out.   In other words, the kind of aggressive techniques needed to make stains like that come out might actually make things worse. Museums often accept a certain level of use-related staining as part of the object’s history. This might not be appropriate for ongoing cultural purposes.

I put this posting out on the blog here to stimulate discussion about the risks and possibilities for cleaning and caring for this kind of item. It is more precious and special than most of the things in our closets at home, but it is also unreasonable to expect museum-level protection for something that is still in active service. I think where we are headed is for folks with museum expertise to provide as much USEFUL information as possible to the folks tasked with caring for these items, and empower them to pursue the kinds of solutions that work in their communities. I’ll provide an update to this post when the conversation has gone further…

UPDATE 2/3/2017:

I asked others in the objects conservation profession for ideas on this cleaning dilemma, and as usual my colleagues were very generous with their knowledge and advice. Choices for cleaning this vest include a wide range of options, each with pros and cons. On the most conservative end of the spectrum is the possibility of doing nothing, and accepting the “wear polishing” as a confirmation of the history, heritage, and authenticity of the garment. Next gentlest is the use of relatively crumb-free cleaners used dry, such as white foam cosmetic sponges, or “soot” sponges marketed under such names as Absorene, Smoke-off, and Gonzo. Sometimes soot sponges (vulcanized rubber sponges) do leave some crumbs, but they are often sizeable and easy to vacuum off. Someone suggested there might be risk of removing or reducing possible smoke tanning in the leather with a soot sponge. Dry, powdery cleaners were also suggested for soaking up the oily staining: warm dry cornmeal, baking soda, corn flour, Fuller’s Earth, or powdered erasers were mentioned. Any of those would then need to be removed from the surface, and might be difficult to remove entirely or might leave a residue. For example, corn flour might leave a scum of corn oil? A thin absorbent tissue in between might reduce the residue transfer, but might also block absorptive action. Removing the powdered cleaners might be trickier than expected, and enough suction to remove the powder could also remove some leather fibers. Somewhat more aggressive is the suggestion that roughing up the surface to scatter the light might help the stain look lighter, even if it did not go away. For example, gently rubbing the surface in a rotary motion with a paintbrush, or even micro-abrading the surface with a scalpel under a binocular microscope. On the most aggressive end of the spectrum were techniques that might use petroleum distillates such as Naptha or white spirit to dissolve the oil, or other water/detergent or solvent-based cleaning options. There were even suggestions of solvent cleaning mixed with lecithin to replace fats that might be pulled from the leather by solvents. Oily substances are both a stain component but also a natural part of the leather. The “wet” cleaning techniques offer the highest risk for damage in the form of stain movement, tidelines, stiffening of the leather, matting of the surface, or other undesirable effects. The wet techniques are most likely to give dramatic results, but come with the most dramatic risks too. Anything attempted along those lines (or the use of commercially available leather cleaners) should perhaps start with a really tiny area inside the pocket? Testing inside the pocket is a good idea with any technique. What this all comes down to is the ultimate goal the community has for the cleaning of this vest, and comfort caretakers have for the risks. Museums can share the ideas and techniques used in the conservation lab, but my goal is to make an object last for 500 years and that might not be the purpose of this particular vest. One final thought …investment is often made in retaining skills, relationships, and knowledge about technologies so new beaded leather vests can be made, too. There are Athabascan beaders and skin sewers who know how to make new vests, and this is a complementary preservation technique too. Thank you to everyone who shared in this conversation! I hope to post another update later on…

 

 

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Glass Photo “Mammoth” Plates?

September 13, 2017

IMG_2875So, my photography-loving friends, what are “mammoth plates” and do these count? Glass measures 24″ x 20″ and framed they are 26″ x 22″. They are a lot like lantern slides because they have some sort of emulsion trapped between two sheets of glass and the image is hard to see without light shining through it. But when you do shine the light oh my! Because of their size, the detail and relationship to the viewer is impressive. Are these rare? Is the technique itself compelling? They were cataloged into our collection in the 1960s, and the database suggests they are “dry plate” or “transparency” but I’m not sure those are the correct terms for the photographic process used.

We are considering pursuing treatment of this collection of 1903 images by the Miles Brothers. Seems these photographers came to Alaska during the gold rush at the behest of a railroad company and took pictures meant to attract investors? It was probably the Valdez, Copper River and Tanana Railroad Company. We believe the images were later displayed at the AYPE (Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition) in Seattle in 1909.  The Miles Brothers are better known for their early motion picture work, and had a studio in San Francisco. The negatives from this Alaska venture were apparently lost in a fire following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

I don’t know if we’ve got a complete set here, probably not. Our first image is from  Southeast Alaska, and then they seemed to go up to the Valdez area and headed for the Yukon River and finally out to the Bering Sea. The sequence below is my best guess, corrections welcome.

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Taku Glacier on Taku Inlet. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum V-C-9. Note the strange brown bubbled area in the middle. Can this be fixed?

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Glory Hole of Treadwell Mine. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum UA-UC-136. This plate is broken and the glass itself would need repair

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Hawkins Point on the White Pass & Yukon Railway. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum V-C-14

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Fort Liscum, Military Fort on Valdez Bay 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum UA/UC-138. I noticed online there is a nice image of this at the Anchorage Museum, apparently belongs to the Cook Inlet Historical Society. I don’t know if it is a print or something large like this.

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Valdez in 1903. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum. Strange brown stain, could this be burned? Also, the shattered flaking in the sky is seen on several of the images, but often in lighter areas?

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Pioneer’s Home and Garden at Valdez. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum

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Crossing Copper River. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum

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Tonsina Crossing on the Trail Between Valdez and Fairbanks. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum V-C-11

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Horses Crossing the Kotsina, A Branch of the Copper (?) River. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum UA/UC-133

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On Elliott Creek, Copper River District. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum V-C-10

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Typical Prospector’s Camp. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum V-C-13. Another one with a broken edge. You can see we propped these up on a light table just to get some record of what they look like…

 

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Fire Department at Circle. Sunset at Nome. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum UA/UC-360. The hands give a sense of scale for these glass plates. The scale gives an intimacy to the image beyond a normal sized photo.

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Detail from Fire Department at Circle, Sunset at Nome. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum UA/UC-390. Note how the message on the fence says, “RING LIKE H-L IN CASE OF FIRE.”

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Another detail from Fire Department at Circle City. Sunset at Nome. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum UA/UC-390. Look at that good dog! How about the moustache/beard?

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Detail of the wood and copper framing typical of those that have frames

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Star City on the Yukon River. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum V-C-12. Note the uneven lighting behind this one, makes the image hard to read. This one is on exhibit right now, and the light bars behind it are not so bad in person.

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Detail from Star City on the Yukon River 1903.     Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum V-C-12. Look at the fur and the texture of the harness!

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The Garden of Pioneers in Interior. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum UA/UC-139. Note the paper stuck to the back of this one. Many of these are missing the back piece of glass, making them very vulnerable.

 

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Pioneer Cabin. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum UA/UC-134. Look! This one has been hand colored. In some areas you can see fingerprints.

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Sunset on the Yukon. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum V-C-8

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Eskimo Children of St Michael. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum UA/UC-135. Unfortunately, the area of two of the faces is completely missing here.

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Eskimos Carving Ivory…Reindeer Camp. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum UA/UC-132

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Ducks…near Nome. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum UA/UC-138. Note the strange rounded damage areas near the bottom center. Is this mold perhaps?

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Sunset at Nome. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum V-C-15

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Winter Came to the Arctic Sea. 1903 Miles Bros image, Alaska State Museum UA/UC-131

 


Thin brittle furskins?

February 15, 2017

 

 

Hi Folks!

 

Looking for some input on approaches to thin brittle skins of small furbearing creatures. I’m thinking of garments made of rabbit, hare, and arctic ground squirrel in particular, where the skins are sewn together and we often see tears through aged or brittle skin that threatens the integrity of the garment. Included here are some specific images and examples.

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ASM 20098-18-1 seal parka with a rabbit or hare trim. There are tears in the ringed seal skin, but it is the disintegrating cuffs that trouble me more treatment-wise.

 

 

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Below are some images of a coat that belonged to beloved photographer Michio Hoshino.  The garment has some substantial tears that make exhibition difficult.

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I know there are many people in Alaska who have beautiful parkas still in use and much treasured, and when they begin to tear there are difficult decisions about when and if to wear them as well as whether they can be passed down to daughters and granddaughters for continued use. Sometimes the skins are still flexible, and other times they are brittle and cracking. For the reasonably supple ones, lining with Reemay and BEVA 371 film is a decent approach. But brittle skins of course have a lower shrinkage temperature due to degradation and heat set adhesives are more risky. For garments that are bearing the stress of their own weight or will be in active use, maybe there is a way to stabilize the damage while also making the garment more robust, perhaps with a supplementary lining that extended to more stable seams. Looking forward to your thoughts!


SLAM PROJECT 2016: Oil and Timber Section

May 5, 2016

Hi Folks!

It has been more than a year since I last posted, and it would be an understatement to say we are working hard. SO much has happened in the past year! I promised myself I’d keep this one short and just get blogging again, so here is a glimpse of conservation from the Oil and Timber Section we recently installed. YES installed, Opening Day is June 6!

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How about this gorgeous chainsaw? Gotta start with an image of Alaska State Museum registrar Andrew Washburn, we’ve been with the artifacts through the whole process and keeping track of the info at breakneck pace. Documentation!!! And really interesting conversations about the strangeness of the out-of-context museum world and what it means for artifact interpretation. In conservation, we have been endeavoring to make industrial objects look reasonably cared for without removing evidence of their useful life. Andrew’s pose captures our discussion about which way the blade faces.

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Iron! Here we have a couple of boom chains. The blacker one was treated with OSPHO and the lighter one got a tannic acid treatment. Most of the iron that needed help from the collection got tannic acid and stayed brownish. The brown boom chain was the one selected for exhibition. Incidentally, there were some prop desk legs also treated with OSPHO…they accidentally got wet and a tough white substance showed up on the surface. So difficult to remove! Anyone have experience with that white crust? In general, I wouldn’t OSPHO a museum object but if a blackish appearance is desired a controlled phosphoric acid like OSPHO does the trick. If the white crust had happened on a museum object, that would have been a disaster.

 

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A giant round of spruce. For many many years this was an exhibit prop in the old museum and treated as such. When I came on staff in 2006, it was strapped to the basement wall and only recently been added to the permanent collection. This sturdy iron support had been added years ago to support a large crack. Note all the disfiguring drips.

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Most invasive treatment of my life: I took a Festool sander to the face of this spruce round to remove severe staining. I’ll spare you the long in-house decision making process that made that choice even possible, but suffice to say I am in love with Festool now. When the spruce round had been an exhibit prop, there were also large holes drilled to mark certain rings as a timeline. Paintings conservator Gwen Manthey is shown here filling and inpainting those holes. There were four holes, but I dare you to find them now!

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Here is the jacket Click Bishop wore back in his days working on the oil pipeline. Yes, that Click Bishop, the Alaska State Senator. There are pants and hat with this outfit too. Here is an image of humidifying the pocket flaps so they would lay flat when the mannequin was dressed.


SLAM Project 2015: World War II Section

March 18, 2015

Here I continue to post snapshots of the conservation work ahead for 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. This section is about World War II, an area of the collection that has grown significantly in the past few years.  This is one of the areas that will be mannequin-intense, as we have quite a few uniforms from different service branches. Here are some of the artifacts that need some extra care from conservators.

ASM 2013-61-1 these remarkable fur lined pants have some tears that need to be repaired.

ASM 2013-61-1 these remarkable fleece lined pants from the Army Air Corps have some tears that need to be repaired.

The zipper of the pants suffers from tooth loss and corrosion.  This needs to be stabilized, and the display details strategized if the zipper cannot be zipped.

The zipper of the pants suffers from tooth loss and corrosion. This needs to be stabilized, and the display details strategized if the zipper cannot be zipped.

This barracks box from the Aleutian campaign contains clothing that must be addressed.  It may need to be vacuumed, and the arrangement and support of the garments in the box needs to be determined with aesthetics, interpretation, and long term preservation in mind.

This barracks box from the Aleutian campaign (ASM 96-59-1) contains clothing that must be addressed. It may need to be vacuumed, and the arrangement and support of the garments in the box needs to be determined with aesthetics, interpretation, and long term preservation in mind.

This USCG shirt (ASM III-O-856) is in great condition, except for the spotty staining overall that may be from mildew during storage before it was donated.  Stains on white fabrics are notoriously difficult to remove.  Still, I think we will try...

This USCG shirt (ASM III-O-856) is in great condition, except for the spotty staining overall that may be from mildew during storage before it was donated. Stains on white fabrics are notoriously difficult to remove. Still, I think we will try…

This gas mask, III-O-165, has a lot of rubber components that are still flexible, but who knows how long that flexibility will last?  Can we come up with a support system that will allow the item to be interpreted and studied in the future even when it gets stiff?

This gas mask, III-O-165, has a lot of rubber components that are still flexible, but who knows how long that flexibility will last? Can we come up with a support system that will allow the item to be interpreted and studied in the future even when it gets stiff?

The canister of the gas mask has some corrosion.  This needs to be characterized and stabilized.

The canister of the gas mask has some corrosion. This needs to be characterized and stabilized.

 

ASM III-O-364 is a Japanese charcoal burning stove.  Staff here are very fond of its industrial design elements.  Inside there is a lot of dirt and rocks.  We will need to determine if those are to be kept inside or not.

ASM III-O-364 is a Japanese charcoal burning stove. Staff here are very fond of its industrial design elements. The inside is full of dirt and rocks. We will need to determine if those are to be kept inside or not.

This Japanese rifle, III-O-240, has areas of corrosion and some elements that might be bent or out of position.  It is an Arisaka Model 99 collected at Kiska.

This Japanese rifle, III-O-240, has areas of corrosion and some elements that might be bent or out of position. It is an Arisaka Model 99 collected at Kiska.

The strap of the rifle is actively flaking an orange powder.  This material will need to be characterized and stabilized before it can go on display.

The strap of the rifle is actively flaking an orange powder. This material will need to be characterized and stabilized before it can go on display.

In this image, paper conservator Karen Zukor is examining and testing a watercolor painting from 1943 Adak Island by Warren Beach.  The artwork has some severe spotty staining on the back that is beginning to show through to the front.  A later to posting will detail some of our strategies to control light levels in the upcoming exhibits.

In this image, paper conservator Karen Zukor is examining and testing a watercolor painting from 1943 Adak Island by Warren Beach. The artwork has some severe spotty staining on the back that is beginning to show through to the front. A later to posting will detail some of our strategies to control light levels in the upcoming exhibits. This painting will need treatment before exhibition.


SLAM Project 2015: Maritime Section

March 17, 2015

Here is another snapshot of the conservation work ahead for 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. This section, Maritime, has a LOT going on!  Anjuli Grantham was here from Kodiak earlier to help with some artifact selection and history, Tim Troll and Andrew Washburn have both told me a lot about the Bristol Bay fishery, and I’ve been in touch with Louie Bartos at least weekly for some time now getting a replica sail made.  Here’s a link to an article about that sail by Megan Petersen at the Ketchikan Daily News, and another article by Matt Martin over in Dillingham for public radio station KDLG.

ASM 97-34-1Bristol Bay Double Ender, a fishing boat that will go on display, rigged with a new sail made by master sail maker Louie Bartos, and film footage will be projected on the replica sail.

ASM 97-34-1 Bristol Bay Double Ender, a fishing boat that will go on display, rigged with a new sail made by master sail maker Louie Bartos, and film footage will be projected on the replica sail.

Tim Troll saw the boat, and had lots of good info.  Here he is looking at the sprit, part of how the sail was held up.  Tim thinks we ought to paint the boat.

Tim Troll saw the boat, and had lots of good info. Here he is looking at the sprit, part of how the sail was held up. Tim thinks we ought to paint the boat.

Here's a plaque inside, I don't know exactly what the numbers stand for.  It was from the Libby McNeill & Libby cannery, and would have been a peachy orange color originally.

Here’s a plaque inside, I don’t know exactly what the numbers stand for. The boat was from the Libby McNeill & Libby cannery, and would have been a peachy orange color originally.

We have two sails that go with this boat, but didn't want to fade a rectangle into one by projecting film footage.  So I took the sail to the loft studio of Louie Bartos so he could measure and make a replica for us.

We have two sails that go with this boat, but didn’t want to fade a rectangle into one by projecting film footage. So I took the sail to the loft studio of Louie Bartos so he could measure and make a replica for us.

I first heard of Louie at the WOAM conference back in 2010.  An internationally renowned sail expert right in Ketchikan!  How could we pass up the chance to get a sail made? Here Louie shows a couple of his sailmaking palms...

I first heard of Louie at the WOAM conference back in 2010. An internationally renowned sail expert right in Ketchikan! How could we pass up the chance to get a sail made? Here Louie shows a couple of his sailmaking palms…the thumb goes through the big hole.  When you make a sail, you need more than a thimble…

We've got a rudder, and will use it.  But will need to make a replica mast because the ceiling is just not quite high enough. And we will probably buy new mast hoops because the originals are rather delicate now.

We’ve got a rudder, and will use it. But will need to make a replica mast because the ceiling is just not quite high enough. And we will probably buy new mast hoops because the originals are rather delicate now.

More photos of Maritime Section stuff below, but I have to make a pitch for our WISH LIST of things we would like to add to the Alaska State Museum collection for interpretation and to include in the display of the Bristol Bay Double Ender.  I think we could find loans of most of this, but ideally we would like to add items to the collection that come from the Bristol Bay fishery from this historic period…

  • Roller (that gadget that helps pull the net up without rubbing on the boat)
  • Cleats associated with roller
  • Oarlocks
  • Bailing Cans
  • Bilge Pump (the one that was supposed to come with the boat went missing in Homer)
  • Tent
  • Stoves: both the “Swede Style” and the “Italian Style”
  • 5 gallon water beaker
  • Old box compass, a few inches on a side
  • Old cannery dishware
  • Samples of caulking and caulking tools
We are putting out quite a few salmon cans, and their labels are quite marvelous.  We will be devising various methods of monitoring the risk from light fading for items like this.

We are putting out quite a few salmon cans, and their labels are quite marvelous. We will be devising various methods of monitoring the risk from light fading for items like this. (ASM 2000-39-1)

This is a stencil set from a cannery, and needs to have the dead spiders and dust removed without losing its authentic grime.

This is a stencil set from a cannery, and needs to have the dead spiders and dust removed without losing its authentic grime. (ASM 2005-9-36)

Several folks on staff are excited about this stencil from a boat called the Goldywn.  However, how to unroll and flatten it, how much to unroll, and whether to include the chunk of oar handle are tricky conservation dilemmas.

Several folks on staff are excited about this stencil (ASM III-O-635)  from a boat called the Goldywn. However, how to unroll and flatten it, how much to unroll, and whether to include the chunk of oar handle are tricky conservation dilemmas.

This deadeye, ASM II-O-290 from the Star of Bengal has some serious spalling rust issues.  Staff are disturbed by the resemblance to a skull, given the history of the ship...one of the worse maritime disasters in Alaska history...more than 110 Chinese cannery workers perished in the wreck.

This deadeye, ASM II-O-290 from the Star of Bengal has some serious spalling rust issues. Staff are disturbed by the resemblance to a skull, given the history of the ship…one of the worse maritime disasters in Alaska history…more than 110 Chinese cannery workers perished in the wreck.

This huge wok, ASM 2000-4-1 also has some rust issues.

This huge wok, ASM 2000-4-1 also has some rust issues.

 

We have quite a few instances like these lure where the object numbers have been put on in a place that is not the best for display purposes. (ASM 98-40-1).  We'll need to remove the numbers and re-label these lures.

We have quite a few instances like these lures where the object numbers have been put on in a place that is not the best for display purposes. (ASM 98-40-1). We’ll need to remove the numbers and re-label these lures.

 

 

 


SLAM Project 2015: Alutiiq/Sugpiaq Section

March 16, 2015

I’ve been posting snapshots if some of the conservation work ahead for 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. The interpretive area addressed by this post is called “Alutiiq/Sugpiaq” and you might wonder why the two designations…actually, there could be more…including Chugach, Koniag, Qik’rtarmiut and others.  Each of these ethnonyms conveys a complicated context of history and identity, particularly connected to specific places and experiences of contact with various colonial forces, such as the Russians.  Which term is correct in which situation is a right of self-determination and personal preference for members of the Native community.  The two terms used to title the section are the result of feedback from community co-curators thusfar.

ASM II-F-9 this delicate bag will require conservation attention to insure it can be supported adequately while on exhibit.

ASM II-F-9 this delicate bag will require conservation attention to insure it can be supported adequately while on exhibit.

II-A-4944 Arctic Ground Squirrel Parka, lined with even more pelts.  This item will need a mannequin, and perhaps some stabilization at the shoulder seams.

II-A-4944 Arctic Ground Squirrel Parka, lined with even more pelts. This item will need a mannequin, and perhaps some stabilization at the shoulder seams.

Here's an old pic of Paul Gardinier showing me some tricks of mannequin making.  We will need some 60 mannequins or more for the SLAM project.  Paul and other staff will be working on this intensely this July.

Here’s an old pic of Paul Gardinier showing me some tricks of mannequin making. We will need some 60 mannequins or more for the SLAM project. Paul and other staff will be working on this intensely this July.

I don't have a lot of conservation concerns in this section of the exhibit, so this is a good time to show the floor plan for the new exhibits.

I don’t have a lot of conservation concerns in this section of the exhibit, so this is a good time to show the floor plan for the new exhibits.

Here's another sense of how the galleries might look.

Here’s another sense of how the galleries might look.

And here is an artist rendering from the architects of what the outside might look like...

And here is an artist rendering from the architects of what the outside might look like…