Native American vest donated to Goodwill was passed on by sharp-eyed
staff to Seattles Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture,
where it is now in the museums permanent collection.
You just never know what you might find
at your local Goodwill store: something old, something new
and sometimes, treasures worthy of a museum collection.
So it was with a beaded American Indian
vest dropped off at the Dearborn Goodwill at South Lane Street in
Seattle. Sharp-eyed staff thought it might be something special,
and an independent appraiser estimated its value for Goodwill at
Now the early 20th-century Plains Indian-style
beaded vest has just been accepted by Seattles Burke Museum
of Natural History and Culture for its permanent collection.
It is just gorgeous and we are thrilled
to have it, said Julie Stein, director of the museum.
Goodwill donated the vest to the museum
so that it could benefit the entire community, said Katherine Boury,
communications manager for Seattle Goodwill.
Usually, items are sold by Goodwill through
its stores, or to other users with the proceeds used to run its
free job-training and education programs. The nonprofit will take
just about anything, for which it will find a recycler or buyer,
Boury said. But sometimes, only a museum will do.
The vest was dropped off in a trunk back
in 2006, and Goodwill has been working all that time to find out
what it was, and what the best disposition for the item would be,
Boury said. The Burke, with its Native American collection, made
sense, Boury said.
The front of the vest is delicately beaded
with Italian glass beads sewn onto hide. It is lined with cotton,
and has a buckle cinch decorating its black velvet back. Seams give
it a perfect drape and its colors, including a rosy pink, are rare,
said Justin McCarthy, Burke ethnologist. Beads accenting the shoulders
have a white core covered with red glass, giving them a special
vest, probably of Flathead, Gros Ventre, Kalispell or Fort Belknap
origin, is an adult mans garment that might have been made
to sell, or been reserved for use on special occasions, said Katie
Bunn-Marcuse, director of the Bill Holm center at the Burke.
Think you might be sitting on something
special that you would like identified? The museums annual
artifact day is open to the public from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Feb.
9. Items of all types, from fossils to carvings, will be evaluated
for free by Burke staff. Come early, the line of curious collectors
often forms all the way down the sidewalk.
The Burke Museum creates a better understanding of the world and
our place in it. The museum is responsible for Washington State
collections of natural and cultural heritage and sharing the knowledge
that makes them meaningful. The Burke welcomes a broad and diverse
audience and provides a community gathering place that nurtures
life-long learning and encourages respect, responsibility and reflection.