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Anchorage Loan Conservation Project

Understanding Technology and Preserving Tradition

  • Gutskin_parka
    St. Lawrence Island Yupik Gutskin Parka
  • images/Elaine_with_Kelly.jpg
    Elaine holding auklet feathers.
  • images/Elaine_preparing_auklet_feather.jpg
    Washing auklet feathers.
  • images/Rinsing_auklet_feathers.jpg
    Rinsing auklet feathers.
  • images/Auklet_after_soaking.jpg
    Feathers after cleaning.
  • images/Aukelet_missing_on_parka.jpg
    Auklet feathers sewn into parka.
  • images/Preparing_sinew.jpg
    Preparing sinew.
  • images/Preparing_parka.jpg
    Preparing auklet for patch.
  • images/Elaine_dampening_parka.jpg
    Dampening gutskin to soften.
  • images/Elaine_preparing_patch.jpg
    Patches cut from similar gutskin material.
  • images/Elaine_placing_patch.jpg
    Placing the patch.
  • images/Elaine_sewing_parka_02.jpg
    Sewing the patch into sinew.
  • images/Elaine_with_Kim.jpg
    Sewing the patch into sinew.

The images above are from the consultation with St. Lawrence Island doll maker/skin sewer Elaine Kingeekuk, who kindly traveled to the NMAI conservation department to repair and restore a ceremonial winter gutskin parka that was collected in 1923 and included in the Anchorage loan. There were multiple tears in the gustkin and several auklet crests that adorn the parka were missing. The repairs required the expertise of someone innately familiar with the properties of internal membranes of arctic sea mammals, and the understanding of how a garment like this should appear on display. The process was documented with written notes and audio and video footage to add to the permanent record of the parka.

View the Gutskin Workshop Images

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