Native American Crafts-Cheyenne Roach

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  #1  
Old 01-12-08, 08:12 AM
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Native American Crafts-Cheyenne Roach

This may seem like a speciality item, but I have a Cheyenne Roach Headdress which is losing its Porcupine hairs and was wondering what can be done to stop it. I was wondering if it is merely because it is drying out. My wife had kept it in a plastic bag along with some cedar boughs and this was placed in a wooden container. I was wondering if it is a dryness problem if there is anything you can put in the bag with the roach to keep it more humid. I know there are products on the market to keep things moisture free, but what about adding moisture.
 
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Old 01-12-08, 08:43 AM
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Smile Interesting problem.

I personally know of no simple solution for long term storage at a raised humidity level.

I do HVAC service work for a museum and humidity control is a big part of what I do.
Anytime an artifact is stored it is done so in either a controlled room or cabinet.

A problem with trying to elevate humidity in a small closed space like a bag you run the risk of developing mold which would damage your article faster than just drying out.

Cigar lovers use humidors to accomplish what you are trying to do but I am unsure if you want to go to this length.
If this item is old and original you may have some obligation to protect it however.

Another thing to consider is the possibility that there are bugs or mites on your headdress.
Museums use a sticky pad placed around collections to monitor bug infestations.
You might try using a sticky mouse trap placed in the bag and later examining it with a magnifying glass under good light............Just don't get the sticky stuff on the item!

What is the history of this item?

Is this what it looks like?

Click image:

Image courtesy of us.st11.yimg.com
 
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Old 01-12-08, 11:59 AM
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First of all, the headdress should not be stored in plastic. It needs to breathe. Typically, headdresses are placed on a form like one used for wigs and covered with a cloth in a humidity controlled area. The issue of humidity is critical. That's why those who own fur coats put their's in storage at the furrier's when the winter season comes to a close. Shrinkage of the leather can cause hair loss.

Conservators of Anthropology at the Smithsonian should be able to further advise you. I am sure that they would be interested in examining your headdress for the sake of ethnographic conservation.
 
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