In the recent issue of The Spirit, the newsletter of the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, an article describes the collaboration between the museum and the UCLA/Getty program which began in 2007 and highlights the work the conservation program students have done as part of this partnership. Images and reports of the objects they have examined and treated over the years will soon be available on the ACCM website as part of an online exhibition. Stay tuned for more information on that exhibition soon.
The latest issue of the Arctic Studies Center Newsletter, published by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, features an article written by program alum Molly Gleeson (’08) on a project she did during her 3rd year internship at NMNH’s Anthropology Conservation Lab. In the article Molly discusses the treatment of a Yup’ik ground squirrel parka which is part of the exhibit Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska opening at the Anchorage Museum in May 2010. Also make sure to check out the rest of the newsletter for more articles on the work the conservators are doing in preparing about 600 Alaska Native objects for their return to Alaska for exhibition and future study.
Check out this video made during the opening of the UCLA/Getty Conservation Program’s exhibition this spring. The exhibit, which was held at UCLA’s Young Research Library, featured Native American objects from the collection of the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum. Students from the class of 2010 worked on the objects as part of the course entitled “Ethnography and Conservation” taught by Prof. Ellen Pearlstein. In the video, Prof. Pearlstein and several of the students discuss the exhibit and the work undertaken researching and treating the objects, as well as preparing the exhibit itself.
On May 15th, the UCLA/Getty Program is staging an exhibition of Native American objects from the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum (ACCM) that were treated by current and past conservation students. The objects were conserved as part of the course “Ethnography and Conservation” taught by Prof. Ellen Pearlstein where students work on a range of objects from ACCM’s collection in consultation with tribal members. This is the first exhibit created by the conservation program featuring the treatments and material studies the students undertook as part of their lab work for the course. It provides a great opportunity for the wider UCLA community to learn what conservation is and what type of work the students undertake in the program, as well as learn about these amazing objects and the collection of the Agua Caliente Museum.
Securing an ivory figurine to a mount using monofilament. Object on display courtesy of ACCM
The objects will be exhibited in a wall case in the lobby and exhibition area of the Young Research Library at UCLA. Early preparations for the exhibit involved the creation of a micro-climate for the case in order to create the appropriate environmental conditions to exhibit the objects made primarily of organic materials. The main goal of this stage of the preparations was to create and maintain a constant relative humidity (RH) within the case of 50% using conditioned silica gel. The case then had to be sealed in order to reduce air exchange and any changes to the humidity levels within the case. The strange site of many stacked cartridges of silica gel within the exhibition case has peaked the interest of many visitors and library staff at YRL, even making the library’s blog.
Installation of an Apache basket into the exhibition case. Object on display courtesy of ACCM.
After introducing moisture into the case and monitoring conditions using a data logger, it appears that the RH has now reached 50% just in time for the installation of the objects this week. The exhibit opens on Friday, May 15th and runs through the end of June. If you find yourself on campus, make sure to stop by the lobby and exhibition area of YRL to check out the objects and the very informative didactic panels accompanying each object.