A Fabulous Collaboration

I thought this was wonderful. The original clan crest hat was too broken and fragile to use in ceremonies. “To restore it to the clan, the Smithsonian followed traditional cultural protocols while using cutting-edge technology. Smithsonian staff scanned the hat to create a virtual 3D model, which they repaired digitally. They then used computer-guided machines to carve two replicas.

This replica is retained by the Smithsonian for educational purposes. The other was dedicated as [a sacred object] by the clan in Alaska and is once again used in ceremonies.”

A fabulous collaboration, which also makes me think about how much it matters whether the items in a museum are originals or replicas. In the fraught conversation about returning fragile and precious pieces of work to the cultures they were stolen from, this feels like an important piece of it. Would I be just as willing to take my kids to a museum that was 90% full of replicas? I think I would, actually…

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