I am a conservator working on the preparation for an exhibition about body adornment.
The work on objects begins well before the opening of an exhibition and this is no exception. I recently treated an infant head deformation board from Borneo (musuem no: 2008.425) that needed some repair before it could go on display in the gallery.
In order to reconstruct the object, I had to replace a missing section of the vegetable fibre cord that ties the board to the infant’s head. Often conservators will not reconstruct missing sections of objects because we may be uncertain as to how it originally looked.
In this case, I could clearly see what the missing section of the cord looked like. I also determined that the deformation board needed reconstruction for stability, which further supported my rationale for reconstructing the missing piece.