A Major Project in the Northwest Coast Hall

by AMNH on

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The Museum is launching a multi-year project to update, restore, and conserve the historic Northwest Coast Hall and to enrich the interpretation of the gallery’s outstanding exhibits, working with Pacific Northwest Coast communities. The restoration project is expected to be completed in Spring 2021, during the celebration of the Museum’s 150th anniversary.

“We are excited to refresh and enrich the Museum’s first hall and first cultural gallery,” said Ellen V. Futter, Museum President. “We are particularly gratified to be working with First Nations communities, deepening the Museum’s collaboration with indigenous communities as we prepare to update and enliven the gallery’s exhibits and presentations.”

Person in ceremonial dress stands at podium and speaks while several other people  in ceremonial and regular dress sit on either side.
Kaa-xoo-auxch/Garfield George (head of the Raven Beaver House of Angoon/Dei Shu Hit “End of the Trail House,” Tlingit) addresses Northwest Coast Hall press conference attendees with his daughter Violet Murphy-George and Haa’yuups/Ron Hamilton (head of the House of Takiishtakamlthat-h, of the Huupach'esat-h First Nation, Nuu-chah-nulth).
© AMNH/M. Shanley

Later this fall, the Museum will host an interdisciplinary convening of Native and non-Native scholars, curators, artists, conservators, and others to consider exhibition design, interpretation, and approaches to conservation.

Man in ceremonial dress stands at a podium and speaks.
Kwaxalanukwame’ ‘Namugwis/Bill Cranmer, a hereditary chief of 'Namgis First Nation, Kwakwaka’wakw, and the chairman of the Board of the U'mista Cultural Society, was among the speakers at today’s event. He is the great-grandson of George Hunt, who collaborated with Franz Boas to create the original Northwest Coast Hall gallery.
© AMNH/M. Shanley

At an event to announce the project this morning, attendees—including members of the Haida, Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Tlingit communities who had traveled to New York City for the occasion—were welcomed by members of the Shinnecock Nation of eastern Long Island.

Women face each other and exchange items, while two other people stand in the background.
Museum President Ellen V. Futter exchanges gifts with Nicky Eagle Eye Banks, a former trustee of the Shinnecock Nation of eastern Long Island and founder of the Shinnecock Foundation of Arts, as well as with fellow members of the Shinnecock Nation Shane Weeks (pictured far right) and 2017-2018 Miss Native American Autumn Rose Williams (pictured far left), who welcomed attendees to the event.
© AMNH/M. Shanley

The Northwest Coast Hall Restoration project also includes a major effort by the Division of Anthropology’s Objects Conservation Laboratory to conserve more than 1,000 items from the Northwest Coast collection, one of the largest, most important collections of 19th- and early 20th-century Northwest Coast art and material culture in the world.