The American Museum of Natural History is collaborating with communities from the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest to restore the Northwest Coast Hall. They will be working together to update the gallery’s physical infrastructure while preserving the historic space. The project is the first in a series of enhancements to the historic parts of the museum leading up to its 150th anniversary and the opening of the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, a new facility that will house resources for education, exhibition, and research.
The Northwest Coast Hall highlights the cultures and artistic expressions of the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest. Artifacts represent cultures from Alaska to British Columbia to Washington State. It was the museum’s first permanent hall and cultural gallery. In addition to the restoration of the Northwest Coast Hall, the museum’s conservators also treated a historic wooden Haida chest before loaning it to a potlach ceremony and t an exhibition in a collaboration with the museum and the Haida Gwaii Museum at Kay Llnagaay.
The hall is home to approximately 9,000 items from the Pacific Northwest. Franz boas first conceived it in partnership with George Hunt, a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw community at Fort Rupert, British Columbia. The Northwest Coast Hall restoration project is expected to wrap up in 2020.