How to store/transport a warbonnet?
August 24, 2010 4:55 PM   Subscribe

What is the best way to store and transport a Native American Double Trailer Warbonnet (like this one)?

An organization I help out with uses a Warbonnet similar to the one in the link with double trailers. It has to be transported around a lot and we need something better to store it in. Right now it is stored in a barrel-like container, however this doesn't protect it much and pieces keep breaking. Any ideas of a better way to store it?
posted by Deflagro to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
Contact the people who sell it and ask them how they ship it?
posted by JV at 5:41 PM on August 24, 2010

I would suggest contacting a(nother?) museum or similar agency to see how they transport them or even how they move similar materials for cleaning and transfer to storage.

The museum that I'm familiar with, the Southwest Museum of the Indian (part of the Autry Center), has had to store their things in VERY long term storage. I was involved there in 2008 or so and their collection space won't be finished until 2013 at best. So, they should know something about storing those types of materials.

The other locations that might have helpful information are the special collections departments of libraries. For example, the library I work at right now has a special collections department with a rare kimono in it that they are concerned about preserving. You might have luck asking special collections department of libraries in the Great Plains this question.

Finally, are you near a university that has a preservation department? You could certainly ask for the assistance of some students in the department (term project!). I know the University of Texas-Austin has a preservation program attached to their i-School (aka library school plus). There's also universities that offer museum studies as a degree.

There's a few different options that I can think, biased from my perspective on preservation, but hopefully somewhere in there is something you haven't thought of yet.
posted by librarylis at 6:52 PM on August 24, 2010

Sorry, this is an imitation warbonnet, not an original. So it's not so much as preservation like a museum would be concerned with, but more of just moving it between people who are using it. I'll try and see how other similar groups are storing theirs. Thanks for the ideas!
posted by Deflagro at 8:08 PM on August 24, 2010

We had a bonnet that didn't have trailers that long, but still was pretty big. The barrel is probably on the right track, but I wonder what the specific worries you have are re: breakage.

The important thing is to have as few creases as possible. Where you must fold it, pad it to make gentle, supported curves instead of folds or sharper creases. You also want to pad it to the point that it doesn't shift around.

So first, figure out how big of a container you can get. Get the biggest one possible that is still practical. That will hopefully limit how many places you need to squish and fold it.

Then, make a base or frame for the inside -- kind of the equivalent of a wig head.

Then, work on the curves -- again, as gentle and round as possible. Put some padding in the middle of the curves, as if you were looping it around a round bolster pillow. (Here's where the real preservation people would use fancy archival paper, but if you're just transporting, newspaper is probably fine.)

Then pad the outside.
posted by Madamina at 8:49 PM on August 24, 2010

I've packed many of these for long term storage. In general, they are made to roll and you can put the trailers between soft tissue paper, usually an abaca fiber paper, or soft wrap Tyvek. Make a head form for the bonnet and the crown feathers will collapse together into kind of a cone. Make a stiff pallet for the whole thing that the head form is attached to so you only have to directly handle the object as needed. If you're not shipping it this will be fine for placing in a box. If shipping you may want to put a batting pillow on top that just touches to keep it from hopping up.
posted by krikany at 8:48 AM on August 25, 2010

The feathers on the trailer have a string running between them so we can't roll it without breaking it/feathers. The crown does collapse into a cone which is what we've been doing. What's been happening is people have just been putting the trailers in the barrel anyway they can (which causes smashing) and setting the crown on top of it. I'm gonna try folding it.
posted by Deflagro at 4:32 PM on August 25, 2010

And by folding, I mean the curves with padding in between.
posted by Deflagro at 4:34 PM on August 25, 2010

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