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Anchorage Loan Conservation Project


The Anchorage Museum loan project required that project conservators balance the needs of the long-term preservation of the objects while simultaneously facilitating the access requirement of the loan. Meeting conservation criteria to allow objects to be safely removed from exhibit for study necessitated working closely with exhibition designers, curators, fabricators and mount makers. The factors of the unique exhibit design of vertical rods, the access component, and the fact that Anchorage is in an earthquake zone necessitated complex mounts. Mount makers had to create mounts that allowed the objects to hang cantilevered from vertical rods, meet seismic criteria, protect vulnerable parts, hold the objects immobile when handled, and serve as a means of conveyance from exhibit case to study area and back. In addition, mounts needed to allow for maximum visibility of objects for study allowing visual access to the backs of masks or the interiors of baskets, for example. Complex object mounts coupled with access hardware, including bracket arms and mount stems, were achieved by a highly talented consortium of creative mount makers. Object mounts were primarily fabricated from brass with a pin extending from the back that drops into a hole in the mount stem. The images below capture only a fraction of the mount making process.

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National Museum of Natural History | Department of Anthropology | Collections and Archives Program