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Historic Collection In Trouble

November 3, 2011 Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole, Teton County No Comments
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Thirty-five years of display in a museum setting that has been something less than state-of-the art has taken its toll on the $10-million Indian Arts collection donated to Grand Teton National Park by the Lawrence Rockefeller family. That donation required that the collection remain on display in the Park, but the aging building at Colter Bay has been beset with mounting problems — an outdated climate control system has allowed excess humidity to cause buckskin moccasins and other items to become brittle and crack; some areas of the museum have allowed sunlight to enter and fade colorful beads and dyes in dresses; and unsealed display cases have allowed insects and even rodents to enter and damage the artifacts.  With the closure of the building this fall, Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott says the collection has been dismantled and shipped to the park service conservation center in Arizona.  ½ of the collection had already been sent to the center and will return in the spring.  Scott says part of it will be displayed in Colter Bay and in 2013, part will be displayed at the Craig Thomas Center in Moose. However, simply restoring the artifacts does not solve the problem, and Scott says attention is turning to how best to house and display the collection and a public comment period will be part of that planning process.  Scott says when the artifacts to be displayed next year return, they will temporarily be put into a reduced display in the old Colter Bay Visitor Center.  However, special consideration for the proper storage and display of the collection is included in the current planning process for the replacement of that building.

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