Preventive conservation: storage mount for a folk dance bonnet: Fosshape

This post is about making a three dimensional conservation storage mount from Fosshape 600 (polyester) for a rare folk dance bonnet made from paper. This is an example of preventive methods of collection care and storage that compliment Continue reading

Collection care and more: Additional material for participants of ‘Curation of ethnobiology collections’ course (SYNTHESYS/KEW)

Here is some additional information following the discussions during the ‘Curation of ethnobiology collections’ Synthesys course at the Economic Botany Collection Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in June 2013.

See 2 reviews of the course by Gina Allnatt Biology Curator and Andrew Lawton Trainee Biological Curator. Thank you!


Celmisia species : Maori ‘tikumu’

drawings by Pavel Mikhailov during expedition of F.Bellinsgauzen 1819-1821

Pavel Mikhailov ‘Chief of the southern New Zealand with his wife’ 1821
Павел Михайлов “Начальник Южной Новой Зеландии с женой”

At the recent (3rd of May 2013) Artefacts of Encounter workshop a much better copy of the above image was shown by Julie Adams in her presentation ‘Bellingshausen collection of Maori cloaks in St. Petersburg’. AoE team’s research in Russia has located some incredible artefacts, cloaks included, I hope they publicise the results of this project soon.

The original drawing, entitled ‘Chief of the southern New Zealand with his wife’, is by Pavel Mikhailov (1786-1840) who took part in the expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen (Russian: Фаддей Фаддеевич Беллинсгаузен, Faddey Faddeyevich Bellinsgauzen), the so called First Russian Antarctic Expedition of 1819-1821.

The image caught my attention. This post is about the actual plant used to make the woman’s headdress depicted. Is it made from ‘tikumu’- mountain daisy, Celmisia, endemic Continue reading

Reflectance Transformation Imaging : new blog by The National Archives

I have been looking for examples of application of Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) to the study of basketry and it came in today: this blog by Dinah Eastop at The National Archives has an RTI image of a straw hat.

From my experience of working with basketry collections (mainly at the NMAI and EBC/Kew), basketry is often difficult to photograph, especially when the aim is to share the collection remotely with contemporary basketry makers who are interested in the details of construction (starting point, base, turning points, rim, sides, weave etc etc etc), and the basket’s original function.

The object’s condition can be used to interpret the life of the artefact prior to entering museum, with basketry this aspect is often overlooked. This is when a hat gets displayed as a bag upside down, or when a used and functional basket is misinterpreted as a newly made tourist souvenir.

Are there any applications of RTI to the study of evidence of wear and tear with basketry or garments?

I look forward to the updates on this project from The National Archives.

UPDATE 6/5/13: Part three of Dinah’s blog, focused on ‘plaiting’, demonstrates the applicability of RTI to the study of textile structures that are seemingly flat.

Dress forms with integrated head mounts, custom made from Fosshape 600

These forms with integrated head mounts were made from Fosshape Continue reading

Embroidered Electronic Textiles: Conductive Threads of Postmodernity

Together with KOBAKANT Collective, we are working on a paper for the upcoming North American Textile Conservation Conference ‘Conserving Modernity: the Articulation of Innovation’.  Preprints will be published.


 Conductive Threads of Postmodernity: Materiality and Engineered Agency of ‘The Crying Dress’

Luba Dovgan Nurse and KOBAKANT: Hannah Perner-Wilson and Mika Satomi

This paper focuses Continue reading

SYNTHESYS Advanced Training in Collections Management: Module 5: Curation of ethnobiology collections

LOCATION: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK

DURATION AND DATE: Lunch-to-lunch meeting, 24-25/06/2013

TRAINERS: Pat Griggs, Mark Nesbitt (Kew), Luba Dovgan Nurse (Denmark).

SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE TRAINING: Many natural history museums contain artefacts and raw materials demonstrating use of natural materials by humans. These present special challenges to curators in storage, cataloguing, ethics and law, funding, and  deterioration and conservation. This short course tackles these questions through modern museum methods, and the experience of the Economic Botany Collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew (UK). The course is relevant to both plant and animal collections.


Guest blog: Francis Lukezic’s review of the ICON Ethnography Group Seminar, Nov 2011 ‘Conservation and Source Communities: Research, Objects and Treatments’

Demonstration of Tlingit basket making by Teri Rofkar

Demonstration of Tlingit basket making by Teri Rofkar.

A shorter version of the review appeared in: ICON News, January 2012, Issue 38, pp. 28-29.

Event/Programme: ICON Ethnography Group Seminar

Title: Conservation and Source Communities: Research, Objects and Treatments

Date: November 16th, 2011

Venue: Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford

The Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford provided an outstanding venue for a one-day seminar centred on the interactions between indigenous communities and the conservation profession Continue reading

Native American Basketry: new series of blogs from the NMAI: It’s All Connected—California Basketry, Cultural Context, and Museum Conservation

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Here is a long awaited series of blogs from the NMAI on the preservation of the Native American basketry:


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