Recently Manchester Museum Youth Board chose a wooden plaque from the Canadian Pacific Northwest for inclusion in their forthcoming exhibition. The large plaque, which we believe was collected by Sir Henry Wellcome (1853 –1936) in the late 19th century, had been displayed somewhat out of view in the World Cultures gallery for over a decade. It has now been taken down and is awaiting the attention of our conservators.
The plaque, made from several pieces of cedar wood, depicts a pair of killer whales and a bear in inimitable Pacific Northwest style. Both of these animals are extraordinarily important to the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest and their images adorn innumerable wooden carvings, including totem poles. Pacific Northwest tribes such as the Haida and the ‘Namgis have a long and rich tradition of expertly and artistically sculpting wood.
To get a closer look at the plaque be sure to visit us when the Youth Board exhibition opens in the next few weeks!