Recent projects:  

Cleaning feathers and feathered objects


Sometimes even the simplest conservation treatments can yield spectacular results!  Here are images of a pair of eagle feather headdresses that required extensive cleaning before going out on display.

Cleaning objects is not always a matter of aesthetics.  Heavy accumulations of dirt and soot are abrasive, acidic, and sometimes even hygroscopic, and can cause permanent damage to underlying materials if they are not removed.

A Plateau-style eagle feather headdress as it appeared before cleaning. The 'fluff', or semi-plume feathers around the front and sides of the bonnet were dingy brown/black in color and were matted with soot.  It was hard to imagine that the feathers were once pure white.

Cleaning in progress.  The difference in the cleaned and uncleaned feathers is pretty remarkable in the image on the left.  The cotton pads in the image above show how much soot was removed from just a single feather!

Before and after images, for comparison:

Another example of a feather bonnet in poor condition.  This one had been displayed for many years in a home heated with a coal burning furnace.  The accumulation of soot on the plumes on  top of the crown and on the outer  tips of the large eagle feathers is quite obvious.  Semi-plume feathers are especially prone to attracting dust and dirt.....the very reason they are used to make feather dusters!  

......and after cleaning.  This piece, and many others like it, are currently on display in the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana.




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