This the ninth part in a series of blog entries by our scholar Deanna, who is writing about her internship experience at Mesa Verde National Park.
We have finally arrived to Week 3! Technically for half of this week I’m still attempting to finish our re-housing project, but I’m proficient in multitasking. From the beginning of work here there had always been a series of paintings kept in the repository. These were paintings were depictions of cultural ceremonies made from various Indian artists. They were from the historic Santa Fe Indian School which is now known as the Institute of American Indian Arts. These paintings are typical of the standard established by Dorothy Dunn. This woman had the artists to conform to a specific style that was in demand from Native art collectors.
Now the exhibit cases these paintings were set to be housed in were the former location of Navajo rugs. These cases stood empty for some time after evidence of bug activity was found on the rugs. To ensure preservation, the rugs were removed from the cases and prepared for cold storage. Obviously these cases needed to be thoroughly cleaned before the paintings could be inserted. Equipped with our spray bottles of vinegar water and the large back-pack museum vacuum, Lauren and I went to work. We cleaned those cases top to bottom and every inch of glass was wiped down with the vinegar. I felt kind of bad for the people visiting the museum that day, the spray was really strong.
We didn’t get around to actually hanging the paintings until Thursday. The maintenance workers were too busy making signs and whatever else they do all day. It just so happened that the weather decided to be rainy. The research center isn’t far from the museum but we could only transport one or two paintings at a time. Tara’s little Subaru didn’t have much trunk space. The water damage wasn’t all we had to worry about; the random spurts of hail were threatening the framed paintings. Through careful planning and polyethylene bags we managed to transport all 12 paintings into their new homes at the Chapin Museum. If you ever find yourself in Mesa Verde make sure to admire our handy-work which can be found directly across from the Navajo rugs for sale.