October 23, 2015: Birchbark Boat
Usually on Artifact of the Week, we like to bring you interesting bits of material culture from around the world with a little bit of a backstory to brighten your day and broaden your horizons. But this week, we present a problem instead.
In the back rooms of every museum, you are bound to find your "problems." Maybe it's an artifact that was dropped off on your doorstep and you've yet to track down any information on it. Maybe it's a collection of artifacts that have (fortune forbid) been separated from their provenience. Or maybe it's this model canoe?
This model canoe is recorded as being from the collection of Dr. Cordell Durrell, geologist and traveler. His collection included basketry from North America as well as ceramic bowls and a dagger suspected to be from Brazil, where he spent several years. When it comes to the documentation of this model canoe, much is unknown.
While we may have some conjectures as to where it's from, we want to turn the question to our audience this week and ask if anyone knows anything about model canoes such as this and how it might fit into a cultural context. Any ideas?