Mystery and Wonder of Gutskin

A museum conservator recently said,

“Gutskin is a material whose time has come.”   

She meant, those of us who are tasked with the preservation and treatment of cultural heritage made of internal mammal tissues understand precious little about the material and the time is ripe for us to put in a concerted effort to know more.  Graduate students at New York University and the UCLA Getty conservation programs have recently raised questions about gutskin artifacts they were seeking to treat.  Staff installing Smithsonian collections in new Arctic Studies Center exhibits in Anchorage, Alaska have found the identification of tissues on several artifacts quite perplexing.  Alaska State Museum has been pondering the unique properties of this material and its treatment as well.

Shown is a gallery of some intriguing artifacts in the Alaska State Museum collection.  Click on the image to enlarge.

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