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Wednesday, May 31 • 2:30pm - 2:55pm
(Treatment: Don't Go it Alone) A Pole with a Story: Innovative Conservation and Documentation of an American Indian Story Pole

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This paper will describe a structural, yet reversible, treatment of a 5.75 foot tall painted wood story pole carved c. 1930 by Chief William Shelton of the Tulalip tribe. The treatment and innovative documentation were carried out at the Hibulb Cultural Center in the summer of 2014. Totem or story poles that have spent decades outdoors are invariably structurally compromised due to rot, insects, and other biological growth. In order to restore structural stability, past treatments of wooden totem/story poles have involved serious interventions that were neither reversible nor re-treatable, including impregnating the rotted wood with epoxy resins. While this treatment has been beneficial and allowed many deteriorated poles to be preserved and displayed (indoors and outdoors), treatment goals were sought that would impart stability to the object in a highly reversible and re-treatable manner, particularly because this story pole would remain indoors. Consolidation of the rotten and insect-eaten wood was conducted with Butvar®B-98 (polyvinyl butyral resin) and a removable, flexible epoxy resin fill system (Conserve Epoxy W200, a conservation grade epoxy resin) was devised to fill deep, irregularly shaped voids within the pole section. During the treatment, an exciting discovery was made in the identification of this pole section as belonging to the "Comeford Park Pole”, long thought to have been lost. In addition, by researching historic photographs of the Comeford Park Pole in the HCC archives and consulting with Tulalip tribal members, the top section of the pole was revealed to be another unidentified pole section located in storage and confirmed through photodocumentation techniques. These discoveries generated excitement within the community, and in consultation with native Tulalip carver and artist James Madison, plans were developed to reunite the pole sections with a strong back to be carved by Madison. Sharing the conservation treatment with the Tulalip community was important to the conservators in order to generate interest in and display transparency about the conservation treatment. To this end, the treatment was documented using a time-lapse camera and edited videos were shared on the Hibulb Cultural Center Facebook page.

Speaker(s)
avatar for Lesley A. Day

Lesley A. Day

Samuel H. Kress Foundation Conservation Fellow, Shelburne Museum
Lesley Day is a recent graduate of the UCLA/Getty Program for the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic materials. Lesley began her conservation training as a pre-program intern in the Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 2009-2013. Lesley's graduate conservation internships have included working in the conservation lab at the Institute for the Study of Aegean Prehistory- East Crete, the Hibulb Cultural Center in Tulalip, Washington, and the American Museum of Natural History, New York. Her master's thesis research involved the characterization of the... Read More →

Co-Author(s)
avatar for Ellen Pearlstein, [Fellow]

Ellen Pearlstein, [Fellow]

Professor, UCLA/Getty Graduate Conservation Program
Ellen Pearlstein is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles in both Information Studies, and is a founding faculty member in the UCLA/Getty Program in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation. Her research interests include American Indian tribal museums and how museum staff defines cultural preservation; effects of environmental agents on ethnographic and natural history materials; introducing context into cultural... Read More →
avatar for J. Claire Dean

J. Claire Dean

Conservator, Dean & Associates Conservation Services
J. Claire Dean is a professional conservator in private practice, based out of Portland, Oregon, USA. She has a B.A Hons. in archaeology from the University of Leicester, England, and a postgraduate degree in conservation from the University of Durham, England. She is an accredit... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 2:30pm - 2:55pm
Regency C-D Ballroom Level, West Tower

Attendees (103)