Monday, March 29, 2010

Hudson Museum #4: Bark Stuff

The Hudson Museum in Orono, Maine has a very nice Maine birchbark canoe from the nineteenth century, plus several related items.

ca. 1888  From the exhibit signage: "This nineteen-foot river canoe was made for Charles Strickland, a prominent Bangor businessman for river drives. Made from thinner summer bark, it was designed for speed."

The huge photograph mounted behind the canoe is misleading: the people are reproduced larger than life, making this big boat look smaller than it really is.



Micmac crooked knives -- the basic tool for building a birchbark canoe.

Fancy crooked knives. The four to the left are c. late 19th/early 20th century, but no cultural identification was provided. The one in the upper right is Naskapi, c. 1900.

Summer bark (left); winter bark (right)

More canoe materials. Top: spruce root used for sewing seams and panels together. Bottom: canoe ribs (probably white cedar); Center-right: pine rosin (dried sap), melted then heated for sealing seams.

From the exhibit signage: "Birchbark Box by Tomah Joseph. c. 1900. Each section of the box is decorated with motifs, including hunting scenes and images from Passamaquoddy legends, such as rabbit the magician and wildcat." I'm including it here and below for the canoe illustration.

The work of the Passamaquoddy Tomah Joseph, by the way, appears in Adney & Chapelle's Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America.

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