This item. UAM:EH:0585-5775AB, an Unangax̂ grass woven basket, was collected by Captain James Simpson MacKinnon. this item is currently in collections, not on exhibit. Arctos does not have any information on who may have woven the basket or where it may have been found on the field, just assumptions that it came from the east side of Alaska on the Aleutian chain. I was unable to locate details pertaining to when the grass basket was in an exhibit.

The grass basket had no loans on file. Though these baskets can be loaned for a multitude of reasons including exhibits displaying text about the intricacy of Unangax̂ weaving, the different uses grass baskets have and the different styles there are (of baskets). Some native corporations, hospitals, museums, and other institutions may request an item or a collection of objects to be on display. Possibly to make the building aesthetically pleasing to the eye; wanting to respect the land they are on; or for research base purposes. When doing so they are required to fill out forms, some forms may include loan agreement, the proper care an item may need, and other forms relating to what they are lending out and why.

There were no projects or exhibits on file, but many projects can happen with baskets. There are different techniques and styles of weaving, different purposes, uses and reasons one may want to visit a repository to research on grass baskets.

The condition reports had little to no context either. The attributes gave a short visual description, “Grass; solid bands alternating with openwork; designs in several colors of fine wool; lid has designs, openwork and knob; 7″ tall (with lid); lid has been repaired.” Not stating who repaired the lid.

I chose a grass woven basket for this discussion due to having my own tiny Sugpiaq grass woven basket. I acquired the basket in 2019 when I moved back up to the mainland, from Kodiak. When I would visit my grandmother and help clean her house or learn how to make other items like barrettes, moccasins, necklaces, earrings, and mittens. This basket was from helping my grandmother clean her home. Anyways my grandma is the one who made the basket which is sitting on a shelf by my teacups. My grandma, June Pardue, makes art relating to my family’s heritage, which is Sugpiaq/Inupiaq related objects. It may not be as significantly important as the basket in collections but means a whole lot to me as it is a whole lot of work having to weave and make sure your grass does not break or shift. She is a well-known master artist; I just do not know what pieces she has in museums or what museums have her stuff in archives.

A question I have for all: if you were able to visit any museum archives what one would it be and why?

4 Thoughts to “Module 7, Collections management”

  1. Hannah Terwilliger

    Hi Savanna! This post was so awesome! I love how you used your personal grass basket that your grandmother made in the same theme and genre of the other grass basket that you presented as one of the artifacts you chose to share. I think that’s really cool. To answer your question, I think the museum or heritage archives I would like to visit would be at the Evert Terwilliger House in New York. It’s my direct ancestor’s house that he made in 1738. I know that the Huguenot Society would have the archives for my ancestor’s home and even beyond but the reason why I would like to visit there is because I never been to the east coast where my family settled. I think it would be a good piece to the puzzle to somewhat finish my family history research for that side of the family. Thanks for sharing your post!

  2. Korovin Ellis

    If I were given the chance to visit a museum archive and really explore it in death, I think that i would choose to visit I think I would go to the Smithsonian, simply due to the sheer scale of its collections, just to get a sense as to how large museums can get and how little we see when we go to these museums, not matter how large and expansive the exhibits.

  3. MoHagani Magnetek

    I think the Sugpiaq grass woven basket your grandma wove is just as important and relevant as the Unangax̂ grass woven basket because I feel it’s important that we value everything I families create. Furthermore, your grandmother being a master artist and the fact that some of works are in museum collections is amazing. You should definitely follow-up on locating everything your grandmother has created because that will a beautiful exhibition of family, Sugpiaq culture and heritage.

  4. Amy Gauger

    I absolutely love your grandmother’s basket; it’s beautiful. You can tell that she’s a master weaver just from the designs and the tightness of the weave – and I’d argue that hers is more important to you, as it’s a piece of family history. Not to mention that her talent is in museums!
    If I could wander through archives of any museum, I think I’d pick the British Museum. No, it’s not the most ethical museum in the world, but it’d be amazing to see what they have behind the scenes.

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