Recent projects:  

Restoration of the Charles M. Russell Bison Horn Headdress

The Charles M Russell Museum exhibit "The Bison" which opened in December, 2008 in Great Falls, Montana featured important ethnographic objects from the museum's permanent collection. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a bison-horn headdress made and worn by Russell himself. Here are some images of the restoration work as this headdress was rescued and brought back to it's original condition for display

An image of the headdress when it was first taken out of storage.  It was barely recognizeable.  Years of storage had not been kind to the object and it was in very poor condition.  Insects and  humidity had caused severe damage to  the eagle feathers and bird skin on the top of the headdress, leaving large tears and loose feathers everywhere.

The bronze leaf that Russell had used to decorate the base of the bison horns was corroding, causing the metal paint to chip and flake, and leaching a green powdery residue onto adjacent materials.

Work in progress:  the feathers and bird skin on the crown were carefully repaired, and the bronze leaf was cleaned and coated with a protective barrier to consolidate the paint layers and prevent further corrosion.

Detail of the object after conservation. Russell made this rather unusual style headdress out of eagle feathers, eagle skin, bison horns, horsehair, glass beads, cotton fabric, silk ribbon...and human hair!

The finished piece on display, adjacent to a full size image of the cowboy artist himself wearing it. Go here to learn more about The Bison exhibit currently on display at the C. M. Russell Museum.

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