There are many fragile objects in this collection - feathers, beading, paper mache masks, broken glass bottles - but there are some objects that make me nervous just looking at them. This partially reconstructed bowl is one of them:
My best guess is that this bowl or pot was never a whole object in the collection. There was a donation of thousands of pottery sherds received in the 1970s, and I think the pieces making up this bowl came from that donation. This bowl is one of the objects which lacks any documentation. There is no number written on it, which is the primary way in which I can match an object to its records. Fortunately, this type of pottery is a very small percentage of our collection, so I can make some educated guesses about its history.
I believe that these pieces came to the museum in pieces and were reconstructed as a student project. In many areas, one can see the glue seeping through the cracks and yellowing.
Most of the repairs seem reasonably secure, and I was able to lift it, but it makes me very very nervous to breath within a couple of feet of it. So what is going to happen to this bowl/pot? For the time being, it will be recorded as an undocumented object - an object that we might be able to find information on later, but don't have it right now - and taken care of as best we can. Deciding how to house it so it can be moved to a new facility will certainly be a challenge!