Wood and (tea) leaves

TheDEN
November 19, 2011

When the Denison Museum opens its doors on Friday, September 16, for the first exhibition of the year, it’ll be pretty hard to miss the canoe. It’s been hauled out after 40 years in storage, carefully cleaned with Q-tips, and hoisted onto a custom-built stand. There are plenty of things to know about the green and yellow boat: It was used by the Kuna people of Panama in the mid-20th century before Clyde Keeler ’25 purchased it and donated it to Denison; it bears a large crack that the Kunas tried to repair with a patch to no avail; and it even has a sail. But the reason the canoe is in this exhibition at this time is because it is made from wood—a hollowed out tree that still bears the scrape marks from the tools used by the Kuna people who made it.

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“I really appreciated the wide range of tasks I was able to complete during my time at the Denison Museum. Some days I spent painting galleries, while other days were dedicated to collections care, cataloging, research or marketing.”

— Jane-Coleman Harbison '10