Soft Gold: The Fur Trade and Cultural Exchange on the Northwest Coast of America

Description:

A temporary exhibition about the sea otter fur trade at the Oakland Museum, using objects primarily from the Peabody Museum at Harvard University.

s:
<p>A 20-foot photomural of the interior of a whale house was physically extended into the space by construction of steps hewn from giant cedar beams.</p>

As visitors stepped through the rough-beamed entry, large live cedar trees framed coastal artifacts set on beds of rocks worn smooth by the Pacific surf.

<p>A 20-foot photomural of the interior of a whale house was physically extended into the space by construction of steps hewn from giant cedar beams.</p> thumbnail
<p>A 20-foot photomural of the interior of a whale house was physically extended into the space by construction of steps hewn from giant cedar beams.</p>

Boats, harpoons, ship models, and navigational charts documented the activities of the traders. Gray-blue walls were the backdrop for this foggy coastal setting.

<p>A 20-foot photomural of the interior of a whale house was physically extended into the space by construction of steps hewn from giant cedar beams.</p> thumbnail
<p>A 20-foot photomural of the interior of a whale house was physically extended into the space by construction of steps hewn from giant cedar beams.</p>

As visitors entered the Native Peoples section, light levels were gradually stepped down to allow for eye adjustment to the unusually low light levels required for the Native artifacts.

<p>A 20-foot photomural of the interior of a whale house was physically extended into the space by construction of steps hewn from giant cedar beams.</p> thumbnail
<p>A 20-foot photomural of the interior of a whale house was physically extended into the space by construction of steps hewn from giant cedar beams.</p>

Black walls and furniture made the pin-spotted objects appear to hover in space.

<p>A 20-foot photomural of the interior of a whale house was physically extended into the space by construction of steps hewn from giant cedar beams.</p> thumbnail
<p>A 20-foot photomural of the interior of a whale house was physically extended into the space by construction of steps hewn from giant cedar beams.</p>

A 20-foot photomural of the interior of a whale house was physically extended into the space by construction of steps hewn from giant cedar beams.

<p>A 20-foot photomural of the interior of a whale house was physically extended into the space by construction of steps hewn from giant cedar beams.</p> thumbnail
Date:
1984
Client:
  • Oakland Museum of California
Roles:
Exhibition Developer and Designer, Fabrication and Installation
Footprint:
8,000 square feet
Collaborators:
L. Thomas Frye, Maeryta Parkhurst