Call for Papers; Poles, Posts and Canoes: The Preservation, Conservation and Continuation of Native American Monumental Wood Carving

Conservation of an Native American Wooden object.

Conservation of an Native American Wooden object.

This two day symposium (preceded by an opening ceremony and meal on the evening of July 20th) July 21-22, 2014 at Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve will gather Native and non-Native museum professionals, tribal members, and contemporary Native carvers to discuss the challenges of preserving and exhibiting historic monumental wood carvings from both a Native and Non-Native view point.  It will also serve to connect Native carvers and the museum community in the hope that the resulting dialogue will help support the continued development of this traditional art form.  The format of this gathering is aimed at encouraging discussion, so presentations will be relaxed and brief, and an equal amount of time will be scheduled for general discussion of the topics addressed.

Registration will open January 21st, 2014, and a provisional program will be available at that time.

Further information and details about the conference will be posted at

Call for papers:

The meeting is heavily focused on inclusive discussions amongst participants, therefore we are seeking short presentations (10 – 15 minutes maximum) that encourage constructive dialog.  While technical papers are welcome, we ask that presenters keep in mind the broad background of the expected attendees.  The event will be recorded and the proceedings published.

Proposals for presentations on the following topics are invited:

The history behind the past care of poles, posts, canoes and similar large Native carvings held in conventional museum settings.
The care of these objects in Native museums and communities from the Native perspective.
What types of large artifact conservation treatments and care work best in Native and non-Native museums?
The importance and relevance of these objects for the personal visions of the Native carver.
The potential use of traditional methods and materials in the preservation of existing objects in collections.
How can conservators, custodians and Native carvers bridge the communication gap and support each other’s work?
How can a balance be struck between technical and non-technical methodologies?
How can we define a range of “best practices” in Native museum collections regarding treatments, storage, moving and mounting techniques for this material?

Information to be included in your proposal:

Presentation proposal should be not more than 250 words.
Please include a 100 word summary that will be included on the conference website, should your paper be accepted.
Provide your name, occupation/institution and contact information, including e-mail address.
Indicate the format of your presentation – PowerPoint, presentation from written notes, etc.

Deadline for submission: February 28th, 2014.

Please submit proposals to:  J. Claire Dean at  (include “PPC paper proposal” in the subject line).

You will be notified by e-mail whether or not your paper has been accepted by March 24th, 2014.

Also, see information about the accompanying Caring for Totem Poles workshop.

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