June 4, 2014

Conservation Research Laboratory

Spent most of the morning touring The National Museum of the American Indian's conservation facility in Suitland, Maryland. There's a huge number of beautiful objects there—clothes, baskets, beadwork, wooden boxes, wall hangings, cradles, canoes, and huge totem poles—and even ceremonial rooms and outdoor areas. This mask is from the Pacific Northwest, Tlingit or Haida I think.

It took five years to move all these artifacts from a deteriorating storage facility in the Bronx, which I also visited many years ago. Here, the objects are are stored much more carefully and arranged by tribe geographically, so the shelves have distinctive aromas according to the materials the tribes worked in. Biggest surprise? There's an Andy Warhol portrait of Russell Means in the collection.