Treatment of a Headdress Worn by Sioux Chief Sitting Bull
Historical Photo showing Chief Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill, circa 1885
This headdress is part of the collection of The Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave in Golden, Colorado. It was worn by Chief Sitting Bull in 1885, the only year he participated in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. It was treated in 2007 to address several main issues. The object was extremely dirty from years of storage and display. In addition it has some serious structural issues and had undergone previous restoration attempts which were failing. The train had also been previously altered and was missing many of the original eagle feathers, through both neglect and possibly intentional removal. We were fortunate to have access to a collection of historical eagle feathers to use in the restoration, as it is illegal to buy or sell eagle feathers today.
The object was documented before and after treatment. It was surface cleaned overall with soft brushes and a HEPA filter vacuum. Additionally, the downy feathers were cleaned with a solvent wash. (The eagle feathers were tested for this treatment as well but did not improve significantly enough to justify treatment) Structural concerns with the cap and train were addressed with the addition of a secondary internal lining. Humidification and flattening improved hide decoration on the back of the cap and the silk ribbons were flattened and stabilized as needed with a secondary support. The train was extended to its original length and missing eagle feathers were replaced with feathers from the DAM Conservation department's collection of historical materials.
During Treatment
Feather Cleaning
During Treatment
Train Reattachment
Julie Parker
Objects Conservator
PO Box 3644 Littleton CO 80161
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