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Grant number like: PW-50739-10

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American Samoa Council on Arts, Cuture & Humanities (Pago Pago, AS 96799-1540)
Leala E. Pili (Project Director: January 2010 to August 2014)

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources
Preservation and Access

$30,000 (approved)
$30,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2010 – 12/31/2010

Museum Emergency Disaster Recovery

The Jean P. Haydon Museum is the official repository of collections of artifacts for the Territory of American Samoa and holds art and artifacts depicting Samoa's history, culture, and natural history. Collections on display include woven mats, artwork on tapa (cloth made of tree-bark), war clubs, kava bowls, model canoes, and clothing made of tapa. The museum was established in 1971 and is housed in a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places that is in the Tutuila Historic District in the village of Fagatogo on the island of Tutuila. The tsunami that struck American Samoa on September 29, 2009, encircled the building and broke through the main entrance to the museum. Salt water and contaminants rose to a level of eighteen inches inside the building, damaging woven mats and artifacts stored or displayed below that height and exposing other artifacts to the threat of mold growth from moisture. One of the museum's treasures is a woven mat over 400 years old named "le o malo" (royal fine mat), which escaped direct harm but needs to be examined for damage caused by humidity since the tsunami. Preservation specialists from the Western States and Territories Preservation Assistance Service (WESTPAS) have advised the museum's sole staff member on recovery efforts and have recommended that a conservator with knowledge of textiles be engaged to assess damage, recommend recovery methods, and train the staff member and volunteers to clean and re-house collection items. A $30,000 emergency grant from NEH would allow the museum to engage the textile conservator identified by WESTPAS and to purchase preservation supplies for the stabilization of collections affected by the tsunami.