On June 20th, 2012, the Fredericton Region Museum received a forty-pound crate, heavily padded and packaged with the utmost care. In it was one of the museum’s most valuable yet mysterious artefacts, a blue beaded Maliseet cap.
The cap was returning from the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI), where it had been undergoing extensive conservation work since April of 2009.
The headpiece first arrived at the museum many years ago, and was in poor condition. Its interior fabric was deteriorating, its colours were fading, and its top portion displayed a large tear. However, the sheer intricacy of its beadwork and its dazzling array of colours were enough to convince the CCI of its value.
The cap was accepted under a conservation grant, where the cost of its repairs and refurbishment were to be covered by the Institute itself.
Upon its return, the cap is truly a sight to behold! Restored to what conservators in Ottawa were able to discern was its original appearance, the cap’s bright colours and intricate beadwork make it a stunning addition to the Fredericton Region Museum’s already-extensive collection of native craft.
Despite the item’s unmatched quality and beauty, the details of its history remain mysterious. As one of the museum’s earliest acquisitions, very little documentation exists concerning its prior ownership or history.
The museum invites the public to come see this one-of-a-kind artefact for themselves. Who knows, maybe somebody will be able to shed some light on this historic treasure!
About the Fredericton Region Museum
The Fredericton Region Museum was founded in 1934 by the York Sunbury Historical Society. In 1959, the Museum found permanent headquarters in the Officers’ Quarters (571 Queen Street) in the heart of downtown Fredericton. The Society and Museum remain a non-profit enterprise with a small paid staff and numerous volunteers who work tirelessly to create informative exhibits based on the history of Fredericton and surrounding areas, as well as publish a local history periodical, The Officers’ Quarters.