In July 2019, members of our research team travelled to England with Elders from the Blackfoot Confederacy and Blackfoot students. The goal of the trip was to visit items in three museum collections and select items to capture with photogrammetry and RTI. The digital captures will be hosted on the Blackfoot Digital Library and become available to people living on Blackfoot territory.
The travellers were Danielle Heavy Head, Jerry Potts, Velma Crow Shoe, Kent Ayoungman, Linda Little Chief, Jackson 2Bears, Justine Heavy Head, Deserae Yellow Horn, Melissa Shouting, John Murray, Carol Murray, Josephine Mills, and Christine Clark. The British team members include Louisa Minkin, Ian Dawson, Andy Jones, and Tom Allison.
Our first stop was the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology in Cambridge. We were hosted by Dr. Anita Herle (Senior Curator), Rachel Hand (Collections Manager), Alison Clark (now at National Museums Scotland), and Dr. Jocelyne Dudding (Manager of Photograph Collection) for two days.
Dozens of items were pulled from the collection stores for the Elders to view and discuss. Of these, 10 artifacts were selected by the Elders to be imaged with photogrammetry and RTI, including a beaded awl case, moccasins, a quillwork bracelet, and a swan-foot bag.
Next, we visited The British Museum Stores in London over three days. We were hosted by Amber Lincoln, Curator of the Americas, and Cynthia McGowan, Collection Manager.
The British Museum’s collection of Blackfoot artifacts is extensive. Dozen’s items were pulled from the collection for the Elders to view, and 17 were imaged with photogrammetry and RTI, including a girl’s dress, several knife sheathes, beaded belts, and a story robe.
Our last museum visit was to the Horniman Museum and Gardens in London. We were hosted by Robert Storrie, Keeper of Anthropology, who assisted us in the workroom and gave us a tour of the museum. Of the 8 items viewed by the Elders, 4 were selected to be captured with photogrammetry and RTI, including a buffalo fetus bag, two headdress cases, and an inisskimm.
Over 5 days, we saw over 100 items and captured over 30 with photogrammetry and RTI. We brought the digital files of the Blackfoot items back to Blackfoot territory to make them available for Blackfoot teaching and learning.