Beautiful embroidered detail on ca. 1925 black silk gloves in the Museum’s collection.
Press Release. 28th July 2017. Aileen M. Langhans:
Random Facts from the Founding Days of Everett, Washington by Aileen M. Langhans, long-time resident of the Historic Bayside Neighborhood, is a collection of historical facts from the early days. It is a glimpse into Everett’s past and includes: biographies of Everett’s personalities; historic sites, events, and groups; poetry and photography; and Everett’s history as recorded by the original history makers.
This book is being published as a joint fundraiser with the Everett Public Library. Revenues will be used to create a formal display, celebrating their collection of historic panoramic photos, which have been in storage for years. The framed images will be placed outside of the Northwest Room for all visitors to enjoy. Let’s show our support!
Diagonal twined and coiled Snake Dance wall hanging basket with butterfly iconography
Rabbitbrush, sumac, natural dyes
ca. 1900, North America
The Hopi are a sovereign nation in Northeastern Arizona and have lived in the same area for thousands of years (and hold the record for the longest authenticated history of occupation in an area of the United States). The Snake Dance is an bi-annual religious ceremony that is celebrated in August or early September for sixteen days. It is thought that the dance originated as a water ceremony, as snakes were the guardians of springs. In modern times, it has become a ceremony for the snakes to carry the prayers for rain to the underworld and ancestors.
This traditional basket hanging was identified on its tag as a Snake Dance artifact, while we are not sure that is correct, it is most definitely Hopi and depicts the traditional iconography of a butterfly and could possibly be attributed to the Butterfly Clan dance, which is a two day ceremony for young people celebrated during the late summer or early fall.
Handmade lacquered leather lidded box with crosshatch embroidered design.
leather, cured hide, lacquer, natural dyes
ca. 1800, North America
Sometimes an object comes into the collection and we don’t have a lot of information on its provenance (history), maker, or even age.
This unusual lacquered leather box was found in the collection with no information attached to it, so we utilized our sleuthing skills to try to glean some information directly from the artifact. We know the basic materials that were used to make the object – some type of animal skin and, from viewing other leather boxes, we know that the sheen on the exterior is likely due to a lacquer being used to ensure durability and, perhaps, to make it waterproof – there is also still a slight smell indicating a use of lacquer (funny that we do use all of our senses to identify and take care of the museum’s artifacts).
The use of lacquers as well as the patina and style, helps us to drill down closer on the age of the artifact. We know that boxes like these were more popular in the 17th, 18th, and very early 19th centuries than in the later 19th or 20th centuries. We also know that the patina of leather and hide can indicate age, so conservatively we can date this to the early 19th century period, it might be earlier. We also think that it was likely made in North America due to some of the stylistic details and clean and simple design, which indicates post-Revolutionary but pre-1830s Victorian. And there you have, to the best of our knowledge, we have identified this unusual item in our collection.
If anyone has more complete information about this artifact, we would love to hear from you! Please feel free to comment below or send us an email.
Twined bichrome lidded basket with deer iconography and banded geometric design, possibly by Ada Markishtum (b. 1888 – d. 1965), Makah
Cedar bark, dyed bear grass
ca. 1920, North America
Interestingly, this basket was found in the collection with a tag attached identifying it as as King George Island Tribe. The King George Islands are actually in Antarctica, so we knew that could not be the correct identification.
With some research and much sleuthing, we concluded two things: one that this had been possibly misidentified at the time of purchase and there was something more to the name “King George Is.” – more research was needed. For those of you who are familiar with Seattle and curious about the tag, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop was founded in 1899 as as The Old Curiosity Shop and Indian Curio by Joseph E. “Daddy” Standley , an Ohio-born curio collector who came to Seattle in the late 1890s during the Yukon gold rush and is still operating on the waterfront.
So a little more research took us to old maps of the Puget Sound, where we discovered that Nootka Sound was once known as King George Sound, the body of water that separates Vancouver Island and Nootka Island. That certainly seemed more plausible than a remote group of Antarctic islands, so we knew we were getting closer. Yet, stylistically this basket did not seem to be from the Nuu-chah-nulth people, who lived on Nootka Sound but they did share a language, Wakashan, with another group – the Makah. Once we had that information, we came across a few of the extant baskets made by Ada Markishtum and we realized that this basket could be a match.
From Our Executive Director:
Just to update our supporters: unfortunately, we have no new news regarding our negotiations to purchase the Longfellow School.
Due to an emergency, the discussion regarding our letter of interest was bumped from the school district’s agenda last meeting. We have been rescheduled for May 23rd, so we should know something after that. Please continue to show support for us and encourage the School Board to consider our offer by email, snail mail, and phone calls.
Our offer will benefit not only the Museum but the community and the School District by creating a permanent home for the museum, allowing the District to earn $2,000,000.00 and save another $1,000,000.00 for the tear down, promote good community relationships, save an historical building, and provide a beautiful museum for children, local citizens, and visitors to Everett.
Benefits for all!
I’ll keep you posted.
Executive Director, Everett Museum of History
Twined bichrome cylindrical lidded basket, also called a “Sally Bag,” Columbia Plateau, possibly Wasco-Wishram
Hemp, corn husk, natural dye, doe skin, cotton thread
ca. 1885, North America
“Sally Bags” are flexible cylindrical baskets common in Columbia Plateau weaving. These baskets had a loop which could attach to a belt to be worn and the rims are typically finished with leather or skin. They were used to carry food stores and personal items. “Sally bags” were created by the Wasco and Wishram people, as well as the Umatilla and Cayuse. The Wasco and Wishram people refer to these bags as wapaas and aqw’alkt respectively. While there are many stories as to why this type of basket garnered its unusual name, the earliest confirmed record references Sally Wahkiacus (b. 1825 – d. ?), who was a well-known weaver of this style of basket on the Upper Kilickatat River (Schlick, Mary Dodds, Columbia River Basketry: Gift of the Ancestors, Gift of the Earth, 1994).