Christine Del Re and Paul Countryman
In 1986, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago embarked on a program of major renovation of its exhibition areas. Part of this renovation included the reinstallation of its world famous Pacific collections in 1989 and 1990.
One of the objects chosen for installation in the second phase of the exhibit was an ancestor figure from Vanuatu called Rambaramp. This figure is made from a core of bamboo sprouts and pandanus leaves covered with a mud and breadfruit juice surface layer. This object presented both the Conservation and Exhibition Departments with unusual mounting challenges.
A new material named Orthoplast, which is used in the medical field, was researched and tested as a mount material for this object. It has been approved for use in Conservation by Scott Williams of CCI.
This paper will discuss the conservation and exhibition criteria that the mount needed to meet, the technical data that is known about Orthoplast and its working properties as a mount material, as well as the final mounting solution that was arrived at.