‘Uncommon Threat’ theme of talk, exhibit at Maine State Museum

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AUGUSTA- The Maine State Museum’s spring lecture series, In Depth at the Maine State Museum, continues on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. with a talk by Curators Bruce Bourque and Laurie LaBar. The two will lead a special gallery tour through the exhibition they co-curated, “Uncommon Threads: Wabanaki Textiles, Clothing, and Costume.” Following the talk, they will sign copies of their book by the same name, which will also be available for sale.

The “Uncommon Threads” exhibition explores the beautiful, but little known textile arts of the Wabanakis, the Native people of Maine, southeastern Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces. Many of the over one hundred objects in this unprecedented exhibition come from the State Museum’s collections. Bourque and LaBar also included objects from museums and private collections throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Many of the objects are being shown in Maine for the first time.

“For millennia, textiles have played a vital role as these Native Americans have expressed and maintained their identity,” explains LaBar. “The exhibit’s exceptional objects, dating from prehistory to the late 1800s, demonstrate how careful observation of traditional textiles and costume can provide insights into Wabanaki history.”

“Historical examples of Wabanaki textiles are scattered, scarce, and fragile,” adds Bourque. “Our concern has been that, fragment by fragment, more will slip away over time. We hope that this landmark exhibition will help rescue from obscurity one of North America’s most dynamic indigenous textile traditions.”

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Between them, Bourque and LaBar have studied and published about Wabanaki history and material culture for over sixty years. The results of their work in the “Uncommon Threads” exhibition and book will find an even wider audience next year, as the exhibition travels to museums in Canada and the U.S. following its closing at the Maine State Museum on September 4, 2010.

Bourque and LaBar’s presentation is free and open to the public, as are all the talks given during the In Depth at the Maine State Museum series, co-sponsored by the museum and the Friends of the Maine State Museum. Upcoming lectures include: “The Beast on the Beach: Salvaging the St. Mary Wreck from the Falklands” by Eric Berryman on April 14; and “America’s Kitchens” by Nancy Carlisle on April 27. All lectures begin at 6:30 p.m.

The Maine State Museum is located in Augusta, Maine in the State House Complex off State Street. For more information call 287-2301 or visit the museum’s website at www.mainestatemuseum.org.

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