Monday, November 5, 2007

A Mystery Revealed

Last Friday's Whatzit was nigh impossible. It was a closed box with only the dimensions to guide you.

The consensus of the guesses was that it might be footwear (moccasins, knit socks, Jimmy Hoffa's loafers), but that it could be anything. Not footwear, folks.

They're masks!

From the collection of a former art professor on this campus, this is a pair of Nootka masks. Our documentation shows that there were originally three masks, but the third has not been located for approximately three decades.

These wooden masks are some of the first to be rehoused in anticipation of our future collections move. The custom box is built to fit within a standard bankers box. A layer of foam topped by quilt batting could be laid in the box to prevent shifting during the moving process. The masks sit on custom made pillows sewn from Tyvek and stuffed with polyester quilt batting. The pillows support the masks and keep them from resting exclusively on their edges - this distributes pressure.

Additionally, the boxes create a microenvironment which buffers the masks from the changes in temperature and relatively humidity in our storage areas.

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