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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Conservation of a Plains-style Tuscarora Feathered Headdress

  • Author(s): Griswold, Geneva
  • Advisor(s): Pearlstein, Ellen
  • et al.

This thesis discusses the investigation and stabilization treatment of a feathered headdress commissioned as part of an ensemble by or for Chief Silver Eagle, also known as Mr. John Green, of the Tuscarora Tribe, Iroquois Nation. The adoption of established stabilization and loss compensation techniques for use on the headdress' severely deteriorated Golden Eagle feathers required both aesthetic and ethical consideration. Research and consultation was undertaken to assess the suitability of use of non-feather materials. All materials were determined appropriate for use; however, the use of toned non-eagle feather 'inserts' was most aesthetically and technically successful. Ultimately, a minimal approach to conservation intervention was employed, thereby acknowledging that preservation of the headdress' current state best conveys its historical trajectory, both as a personal item and as a museum object.

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