In the early days of its creation, the Hubbell-Joe Rug was displayed in a variety of ways, including being tented on a truck bed during a parade at the Gallup Inter-Tribal Exhibition in 1939, or hung from the ceiling with the full weight on the warp and weave at a show in New York. The rug was stored in the dirt-floor basement at the Hubbell Trading post, and even in the back of a truck.
Now that the Hubbell-Joe Rug has a permanent home at Affeldt Mion Museum, we want to show the masterwork the respect it deserves.
The challenge came in how to exhibit the large weaving in a way where people could see the patterns, yet the rug would remain safe. Due to the size, the rug details would be difficult to see laying flat. Hanging from the ceiling would put too much stress on the weave.
Part of the conservation plan for the rug under the Winslow Arts Trust and AMM is to minimize risk, so Allan Affeldt and his team came up with a plan.
The original baggage room at the 1930 Mary Colter depot was redesigned specifically for the rug in 2018. This will be the Hubbell-Joe Rug’s permanent home.
Based on Allan’s design, artist John Suttman built not only the framework but the beautiful winch to raise and lower the wall–a piece of art on its own. The aluminum frame was then covered in birch and the floor area in cork. The highly-engineered structure will enable the rug to be raised and lowered as needed.
The Tilt-Up Wall
On this display, the rug will be partially on the custom-made floor, protected by a railing, and partially on the tilt-up wall where the weave will be supported. Standing in the viewing area, the rug will stretch out before you, then up the cantilevered wall so you can take in the constellation patterns, the horned toad, and the water bugs.
Stress on the rug will be minimized, and the wall can be lowered to allow periodic inspections and cleanings. The angle will allow visitors to truly experience the beauty of this masterful piece.
Soon, we will have the rug in place and test the efficacy of the exhibit. Stay tuned for more!
We are working toward a grand opening Labor Day weekend, and will send an email in early August with the details. If you’d like to be notified, please join our mailing list!