News Column

Suquamish tribe preserves artifacts with federal grant

July 12, 2014

By Rachel Anne Seymour, Kitsap Sun, Bremerton, Wash.

July 12--SUQUAMISH -- The Suquamish Museum received a $47,000 federal grant to care for and document several artifacts with two of its collections.

The grant, provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is a two-year grant that will pay for proper storage, and preserve artifacts and samples for the tribe's Manette and Old Man House Collections, as well as an online database of the items.

The artifacts include stone and bone tools along with samples from shell middens, which are piles of discarded items such as food and broken tools, said Janet Smoak, museum director.

The shell midden samples are taken through different debris layers to show what people ate and used in day to day life.

"You can see hundreds of years of diet change," Smoak said.

After the items have been preserved, the museum will work them into current exhibits.

From there, the museum staff will enter the artifact information and photos into a database that will eventually be made public, contributing to future archaeological research, Smoak said.

The items with the Manette Collection consist of stone and bone tools that were excavated during the construction of condominiums in Bremerton's Manette neighborhood in the early 1980s, according to Smoak and the National Park Services website.

The Old Man House Collection items include some tools, but are mainly samples from shell middens gathered between the 1970s to the 1990s at the site of the Old Man House, the largest known longhouse in the Salish Sea. It was a major Suquamish winter village on the shoreline of Agate Passage. The longhouse was burned down by the U.S. government in the late 1800s, according to Seattle'sBurke Museum of Natural History and Culture.

On July 25, items excavated in the 1950s at the Old Man House site will be on exhibit. The Burke Museum donated the items to the Suquamish tribe in October 2013. The items includes hundreds of artifacts, such as harpoon points, gun flint stones, smoking pipes, adze blades, glass and a bone pendant, according to the Burke Museum.

The Suquamish Museum grant was one of 37 recently awarded grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services that totaled nearly $2.5 million for three programs -- Museum Grants for African American History and Culture, Sparks! Ignition Grants for Museums and Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum Services.

With those 37 grants, IMLS awarded a $88,258 grant to The Northwest African American Museum in Seattle, which provided $89,838 in matching funds.


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Source: Kitsap Sun (Bremerton, WA)

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