J.CAC VOLUME 36 (2011)

Creating Steel Mounts for the Exhibition of Totem Poles

James Hay

The challenge of vertically displaying a deteriorated totem pole has provoked a number of solutions over the last hundred years. At the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the collaboration between a civil engineer, a steel fabricator/welder, and a conservator resulted in a mount design custom made to fit each pole to which it is attached with lag screws. The mount consists of three parts: 1) a concrete plinth, which contains threaded steel rods, 2) a steel base plate, drilled to accept the rods, while hex nuts fasten the plate to the rods, and 3) a steel mast welded to the base plate custom built to suit the artwork. With modifications appropriate for exposure to weather, the method works indoors or out. This mount design has several advantages, even for a new pole: handling of the pole can cease once the mount is attached, and the operation of erecting the pole is simplified. Risk is minimized, as a civil engineer can approve such a solution. General details of the mount structure and lifting harness are described and illustrated.

Download: JCAC36 Hay